I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?
Falling asleep isn’t always a matter of relaxing and closing your eyes. Some nights, getting comfortable seems impossible. Luckily, there are ten easy things you can do to speed up how fast you’re snoozing after your head hits the pillow.
1. Keep a journal.
Writing in a journal before bedtime is a great way to get intrusive and distracting thoughts down on paper and out of your way. Anxieties in your journal are far easier to deal with than anxieties in your head. Writing down worrying thoughts is a time tested and effective way of dealing with them.
If you feel uncomfortable writing down what’s bothering you, start with a to-do list. By writing down everything you need to do the next day, you can focus on the task at hand: sleeping.Advertising
2. Sleep in the dark.
It might seem obvious, but a dark room is vital for falling asleep. Any light that your eyes are exposed to before bed impairs melatonin production in the brain. Melatonin is the hormone responsible for sleep.
If you don’t have complete control over the level of light in your room (maybe your roommate just doesn’t understand early-morning classes), consider using a sleep mask. Even if your room isn’t pitch black, a sleep mask will help eliminate unnecessary light.
3. Sleep in a quiet environment.
Unlike your eyes, which close blissfully as you float off to dreamland, ears stay wide open while you’re asleep. Sudden loud noises will wake you up, but quieter, distracting noise can also interrupt your snoozing.
Turning off the TV in the next room is the first step to eliminating extra noise. If you sleep in an area with a lot of noise (blame the neighbor’s party), try sleeping with earplugs or a white noise generator. Listening to music to relax and fall asleep can also work—just make sure the music will automatically stop after a certain time.
4. Get comfortable.
Being comfortable while you sleep has a serious impact on sleep quality. A good mattress will go a long way toward improving your rest and how long it takes to fall asleep.Advertising
Though most people have their own preference when it comes to the temperature they prefer to sleep in, a light chill will improve sleep quality, since the body experiences a drop in temperature and metabolic rate during sleep. A cold room will even make the blankets feel better, so try cracking a window next time you’re tossing and turning.
5. Make use of relaxing aromas.
Though your nose won’t channel as many distractions as your eyes and ears, the nasal passage is a direct route to the brain. Most smells won’t impair sleep, but preliminary research suggests certain aromas can help relax you and speed up the rate at which you fall asleep.
Lavender can be very relaxing. If your roommate’s dirty laundry is becoming difficult to deal with, try lavender aromatherapy.
6. Control your daily stress.
Step one, the nightly journal entry, is a good start to managing the stress of your day-to-day life. Jotting down concerns and anxieties before bed might help you relax, but if you’re not taking time during the day to reduce stress, you might be overwhelmed before you even get to bed.
Proper diet and exercise will help reduce daily stress. Many people enjoy meditation as a way to relieve stress. If you’re not willing to jump into mediation, try active relaxation. Take some time out of your day to sit or lay down comfortably and allow your mind to wander, away from the worries of work and school.Advertising
7. Time your coffee intake.
Caffeine’s ability to get you up and going in the morning will bite back when it’s time for bed. Even veteran coffee drinkers with a strong caffeine tolerance will have trouble falling asleep if too much caffeine is consumed before bed.
Caffeine is metabolized at different speeds in different people. If you’re not a frequent coffee drinker, give yourself at least eight hours between having a cup and your ideal bedtime. If you consider yourself used to coffee’s effects, try to make sure you’ll be up for at least five more hours before committing to a mug of the good stuff.
8. Rethink your diet.
You are what you eat, and what you eat will determine how well you sleep. A consistent lack of carbohydrates can impair sleep. This usually coincides with the bad mood that a lack of carbs brings. If you realize you’ve been trying to shake a grumpy feeling all day, you may also have trouble sleeping that night.
Carbs facilitate the production of serotonin, which the body uses to create melatonin. If you’re on a low-carb diet and are having trouble sleeping, try eating most of your carbs during dinner. This will provide you with enough to get through the night comfortably.
9. Treat your insomnia with melatonin.
You’ve tried all of the above, and you still find yourself staring at the ceiling for hours, unable to fall asleep, night after night. If your problem is specifically with falling asleep, supplementing melatonin can help.Advertising
Melatonin is safe and very effective at helping people fall asleep. To take melatonin, either supplement a 3mg time release capsule, or start with 500mcg capsules and find the lowest dose that helps you fall asleep. Be careful, taking too much can result in some serious morning grogginess.
10. Try other supplementation options.
Melatonin is the best option for reducing sleep latency (how long it takes to fall asleep), but if your problems concern sleep quality, you’ll need to look elsewhere. There are many sleep aid supplements on the market, but they will benefit the body in different ways.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a popular sedative. It is not addictive, and helps calm hyperactive minds and intrusive thoughts. Glycine is a cheap and safe amino acid that can improve sleep quality when supplemented. If you wake up in the morning feeling like you need to roll over for another eight hours, glycine may help you get the most out of your night.
More things to know about sleep: 11 Sleep Habits of Successful People
Last Updated on January 21, 2020
The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want
Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.
Why You Need a Vision
Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.
How to Create Your Life Vision
Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.
What Do You Want?
The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.
It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.
Some tips to guide you:
- Remember to ask why you want certain things
- Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
- Give yourself permission to dream.
- Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
- Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.
Some questions to start your exploration:
- What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
- What would you like to have more of in your life?
- Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
- What are your secret passions and dreams?
- What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
- What do you want your relationships to be like?
- What qualities would you like to develop?
- What are your values? What issues do you care about?
- What are your talents? What’s special about you?
- What would you most like to accomplish?
- What would legacy would you like to leave behind?
It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.
What Would Your Best Life Look Like?
Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.
A few prompts to get you started:
- What will you have accomplished already?
- How will you feel about yourself?
- What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
- What does your ideal day look like?
- Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
- What would you be doing?
- Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
- How are you dressed?
- What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
- What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
- Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.
It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next step. Give yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.
It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.
- What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
- What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
- What would you have needed to learn along the way?
- What important actions would you have had to take?
- What beliefs would you have needed to change?
- What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
- What type of support would you have had to enlist?
- How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
- What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?
Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.
It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.
Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com