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Tonight Before You Go To Sleep, Make Sure You’ve Done These 10 Things

Tonight Before You Go To Sleep, Make Sure You’ve Done These 10 Things

Fall is my favorite season but it is no good for my sleep schedule. The early darkness and late-coming first-glimpse-of-the-sun have a way of throwing off my natural body clock. Know the feeling? We could all use a good lesson in how to sleep better. Just remember the following 10 things for quality Zzz’s that will help you wake up refreshed and ready to dominate your day.

1. Discover your natural sleeping rhythm.

Find a few days in a row where you don’t have to be awake by any particular time and forget about setting your alarm. Go to bed at the same time every night and let your body awake when it chooses to do so. Write down when you wake and write down how you feel. Repeat this exercise until you discover your ideal sleep schedule.

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2. Keep a consistent bed-time ritual.

I know this isn’t easy if you have kids, so your ritual can be as simple or as elaborate as it needs to be. Plenty of time to spare? Unwind with a bubble bath, good book, hot tea, and incense or candles. Only have a little while? Dim the lights in your home an hour before bed. After you tuck the kids in, perform a super quick consistent ritual before getting under the covers. For example: you could brush and floss your teeth, lay out your clothes for the next day, and write down the most important things you have to do tomorrow. Train your brain with a patient attitude to wire your body to sleep with ease.

3. Catch some rays during the day.

Melatonin is the hormone in your body that regulates your sleep cycle. Have you ever noticed your energy in the morning tends to increase when you take your first step into the sun-light? That’s because melatonin production is influenced by exposure to light. Make sure you catch some rays during the day because chaining yourself to your desk (and denying your body access to natural light) will make you feel groggy long before your day is over.

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4. Watch out for artificial light late at night.

The more melatonin your body produces, the sleepier you will be. Light decreases its production and darkness increases it. Unfortunately, the artificial light found on lap-tops, computer monitors, TV screens, cell-phones and so on are not excluded from this equation. Limit your exposure to all electronics within one hour of your bed-time. Dive into a book for a more sleep-friendly alternative.

5. Turn down your thermostat.

The average person sleeps best at a temperature of 65 degrees. Is it a little warm? Sleep in your skivvies and ditch the cover. A little cool? Bundle up in something comfy and warm. Adjust your attire to the temperature for a good night’s sleep.

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6. Cut the lights and eliminate the noise.

Just like distractions can wreck your productivity in the middle of a task or chore, they can also mess up the quality of your sleep. If you live in a noisy apartment or neighborhood, buy some comfortable noise reduction ear muffs or try going to bed with something relaxing like nature sounds, beach noises, or classical music playing. If there is a bright light sneaking into your window, invest in an eye mask.

7. Move your body.

How to sleep better in one word: exercise! Save vigorous workouts like weight-lifting, sprints, and physically taxing sports for early in the day because they can energize your body late at night (causing the opposite of the desired effect). Gentle yoga with conscious breathing, however, would be a perfect late-night routine to prepare your body for a perfect night of sleep.

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8. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.

It should come as no surprise that caffeine isn’t the best beverage to drink late in the day, but did you know it can cause sleep problems 10-12 hours after consumption? If you have a hard time sleeping, you’d be wise to cut yourself off by noon. Also, while alcohol might give you a vicious case of the sleepies, the benefit doesn’t last. Alcohol damages the quality of your sleep, causing you to wake frustrated and groggy before you’re anywhere close to ready to start the day.

9. Have dinner at least a couple hours before bed.

Rich foods that are full of fat take a long time to digest in your body, which could make it hard for you to fall asleep. Also, I’m sure you have a beverage or two with that dinner, and drinking too close to bed could cause you to wake up with an overwhelming urge to pee.

10. Set a bed-time alarm.

Not a wake-up alarm: a bed-time alarm! If you’re a Facebook or Pinterest user, you know it’s easy to lose track of time. Settle on a time close to lights-out (I’d suggest about an hour before) and stay on schedule. Make sure you give yourself enough time to shut off your electronics, put your kids to bed (if applicable), perform your bed-time ritual, and do anything else you need to do.

I hope this will help you figure out how to sleep better so you can feel more energized and refreshed during the day. Do you have a hard time getting a good night’s sleep? If so, why do you think that could be?

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Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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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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