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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

How to Really Achieve Goals 8 Outlook Hints Everyone Should Know 7 Things Smart Learners Do Differently 10 Ways To Have Quality Sleep That You Probably Don’t Know 9 Things You Can Do To Completely Unleash Your Potentials

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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