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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

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.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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 stepGive 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.

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    Plan Backwards

    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

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