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7 Effective Ways to Get Amazing Sleep

7 Effective Ways to Get Amazing Sleep

Life seems to get more and more hectic. Our days seem to be more and more packed with demands on our time. And the one area of life where we often feel we should improve (but seldom do) is that of sleep. Nobody is still quite sure of the optimum amount of sleep, or even if such a thing exists. But one thing is for certain – there’s nothing that beats feeling refreshed after a night’s rest. So what are the ways to get the best out of a night’s sleep? Let’s take a look at some of the most effective methods:

1. Sleep hygiene

The term “sleep hygiene” might sound like it refers (somehow) to either washing or staying clean during sleep. But actually it refers to the conditions that are most conducive towards good sleep. The single most important thing you can do when addressing quality of sleep is to look at not just the physical factors (e.g. light levels in the room) but also the non-physical ones such as sleep cycles and bedtimes. Think of sleep hygiene as the overarching strategy towards a better night’s sleep, with everything else mentioned in this list as a series of actions in support of it.

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2. Respect your internal clock

To an extent, nature made us all creatures of habit. This is why, when after crossing time zones, we’re prone to jet-lag. Our habitual waking and sleeping cycles suddenly go up against a clock that seems to have its hour hand perpetually in the wrong place. You can work with your internal clock to help aid restful sleep by nit going against it. Many of us are apt to do this – and I am as guilty as anyone. The most familiar scenario is the average Friday or Saturday night. After a long week at work, you find yourself staying up later. And getting up later the next morning. By the time Monday morning rolls around, what do we have?  Yes, an out-of-sync body clock. What works for me is to ensure getting up at the same time every day (regardless of what time I went to sleep).

3. Gear up the right habits for optimum sleep

Much of what you do in the evening will likely have an effect on your night’s sleep. So – this goes without saying, really – plates of rich food, vigorous exercise, caffeine – all of these are to be avoided during the time prior to going to bed.  Chances are that after a certain time in the evening you wouldn’t feel like eating rich food or firing up the espresso maker anyway. But it’s good to be aware of the things that can boost sleep, such as being in a quiet place, being hydrated and avoiding too much ‘blue light’ (e.g. from computer screens) before bed.

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4. Ritualize and make associations

It’s amazing what the power of ritual can do to help sleep. It may be down to the fact that if you carry out a series of actions every night (say, setting the alarm clock, filling the hot water bottle, reading a few pages of a favourite book) you are sending signals to the brain that bedtime is near. It’s almost as if the subconscious starts to prepare your body for the sleep ahead. Some people use a ‘sleep aroma’ that they associate with sleep – and you can even buy dispensers that give off a calming lavender type smell. These won’t (of course) have any medical effect making you drowsy, but they really can make the bedroom smell very pleasant, and nothing wrong in that when you close your eyes at night.

5. Leverage the power of light

Our brains are actually programmed to sleep when we’re in darkness – hence presumably why as a species we tend to sleep at night (unless working shifts). So obviously it’s best to sleep in dark or near dark. But what about waking? Well, the opposite is true. Bright light aids alertness. So when the morning comes, if it’s dark outside and in the room, the sound of the alarm may be intrusive enough to make you groan. Using a dawn simulation clock can really help wake you up by degrees in much the same way as you would if sunlight started streaming in through the window.

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6. Embrace the Zen aspect of the Zzz

I used to sleep in a cluttered room. The floor was (I am embarrassed to admit) strewn with clothes. The surfaces crowded with books, empty soft drink cans, and all manner of random detritus. Then I read about de-cluttering. So I de-cluttered the room. The effect was so powerful that I could hardly believe it. The room felt calmer and it suddenly seemed to contain more space. What this made me realise is that an untidy room is like a three-dimensional to-do list – it’s a whole litany of things that need done. “Wash this garment.” “Put away this no longer required novel.” And so on. The reason you feel calmer in a tidy, ordered, Zen-like room is that it doesn’t require any action other than for you to enjoy being there.

7. Build your day around your night’s sleep

This may sound counterintuitive, as if day is somehow subservient to the night time hours. But this is not what I mean at all. If you look at all the healthy behaviours that we’re enjoined to include in our day, many of them are also very good sleep boosters. The following in particular are definitely a great help in preparing the path from wakefulness to sound sleep:

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Exercise. By getting the recommended amount of exercise you’re likely to have lower stress levels, and find that bedtime and good quality sleeping are synonymous.

Varied diet. By eating the right things (like plenty of fruit and vegetables) while avoiding the nasties (large amounts of processed, additive-loaded food) you will be less likely to spend the evening snacking and be more likely to feel calmer and happier of an evening.

No smoking, and low levels of alcohol consumption. Smoking is a no-no anyway. And those who have given up often remark on how much better they feel in the mornings. In terms of alcohol, it’s a well known fact that it impedes quality sleep. Swap that glass of wine for a cup of chamomile tea, put on some calm music, and feel the tension ease away.

Featured photo credit: peridotmaize via pixabay.com

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Sarah Anton

Editor and founder of The Fitrepreneur, aspires to improve people's living style.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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