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10 Ways To Have Quality Sleep That You Probably Don’t Know

10 Ways To Have Quality Sleep That You Probably Don’t Know

You probably spend 25-40% of your life sleeping. During that time your brain and body are busy overseeing biological maintenance that will enable you to reach your full potential.

Many of us, however, perceive sleeping as a waste of time and try to limit it as much as possible. This impacts our long term functioning. Here are some hints on how to improve the quality of one of the most basic necessities in life.

1. Make quality sleep a priority.

There are countless demands nowadays that make our life busy, and the easiest time to cut is sleep. However, to improve its quality you need to make it a priority. It won’t happen overnight and it won’t happen if you don’t perceive it as an important factor of the quality of your life. The first step to have quality sleep is to put it close to the top of your priority list. You can also start building positive habits around your dreaming.

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2. Build a quality sleep environment.

In most articles about quality sleep, you will find the usual set of rules, such as keeping your bedroom dark and quiet, having a comfortable bed, keeping the temperature low, avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, avoiding TV etc. Let’s just mention it all once – these things are very important and it really matters for your relaxing bedtime routine!

3. Observe and experiment.

Everyone is different and this is why observing yourself is so important to have quality sleep. Start a diary. Install an application on your mobile phone for sleep tracking. Try experimenting with your pre-sleep routine, timing, exercises, room temperature, and sleep length to see what works best for you. If you make it fun set of experiments, you will soon find your own, natural style and not “one fits all” solution.

4. Don’t nap for too long

Napping is actually very healthy if you do it right. There is just one rule: keep it under 25 minutes, where 10-15 minutes is best.

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Sleep unfolds in a series of recurring sleep stages: N1 (transition to sleep, usually few minutes), N2 (light sleep, usually 10-25 minutes), N3 (deep sleep, usually 20-40 minutes), REM (rapid eye movement) and then the cycle repeats itself.  The average length of the first sleep cycle is usually between 70 and 100 minutes and later cycles are about 90 to 120 minutes.

The worst thing you can do is to take a nap to enter the deep sleep and then be woken up in the middle of it. You will probably feel much worse after the nap than before! Understanding your sleep cycle is also important for experimenting, because you can plan your alarm time based on the sleep length, rather than specific hour. You can also try installing an application that analyzes your sleep patterns and tries to wake you up when you should feel relaxed the most, or invest in a special device like Jawbone UP or Fitbit One.

5. Expose yourself to light wisely.

Light exposure controls melatonin, which is a naturally occurring hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle. If you have problems getting up early, try exposing yourself to strong light in the morning and use dimmed light and sunglasses in the evenings. You may also like to rearrange your space to let as much light in as possible.  Spend more time outside during daylight, avoid computer, TV and backlit devices at night. The opposite will also work if you want to stay awake in the evenings – just avoid the light in the morning and expose yourself to it in the evenings.

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6. Establish a pre-sleep routine.

Establishing a pre-sleep routine can prepare you mentally for the next few hours and your body will feel it. The whole day could be crazy, but if you regularly take a short shower, make few physical and breath exercises and then go to bed, your body will start relaxing during the first moments of your shower, a long time before you are actually ready to sleep.

7. Anticipate wake-up.

Have you ever tried to wake up early in the morning to catch a flight or bus? Your sleep was probably quite short and yet the morning was energized. It is all in your head. When you anticipate wake-up and there is something important waiting for you in the morning, your energy level will be much higher. Plan a quick activity or task early in the morning that will help you achieve quality sleep.

8. Boost your morning.

Music, dance and fun will greatly help you wake up. They are very powerful mood-enhancing tools that will determine your morning state of mind. Try your best tunes, few crazy moves and some good set of jokes that will pump your blood full of positive energy to your whole body. First few moments during the day will impact the way you think about your sleep.

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9. Exercise during the day.

The worst thing that can happen when you want to go to sleep is that your mind is worried and tired, but your body has not exercised that much during the day. Physical activity is so important for your health! By exercising for as little as 30 minutes a day, you can have quality sleep, reduce your risk of heart disease and many more.

10. Take a sleep vacation from time to time.

Life is life, we don’t always sleep as much as we should and over time, we tend to create something called “sleep debt,” which is simply a cumulative effect of not getting enough sleep. Sleep debt is dangerous, resulting in impaired memory, concentration, and motor skills. Your immune system and healing process also suffer. This is why from time to time, you should take a sleep vacation and return to your quality sleep. You simply have to pay your debt back before your organism asks for it!

Sleep affects many aspects of our life. Having a quality sleep is very important to have a quality life.
If you have your own best ways to have quality sleep, share them with me!

More by this author

Piotr Nabielec

Author, CEO, Consultant

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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