Getting a good night of sleep might seem like a luxury today but it’s very important for your energy level the next day. When you get enough high-quality sleep you’ll be more energized and productive. Here are ten tips to help you to doze off and to get a good night of sleep.
1. No Screens
Avoid looking at a screen within the last thirty minutes before you go to bed. It stimulates your mind so it becomes more difficult to fall asleep. Screens that use e-ink technology are fine (like the Kindle) but backlit screens should be avoided as much as possible.
Reading a book right before bed is a great way to fall asleep. It’s very relaxing and a proven method that works. A good novel will do the trick just fine.
3. Dimmed Lights
Get rid of any bright lights you might have in your bedroom. The bright light prevents your brain from producing melatonin – the hormone that makes you fall asleep. Too much light is also too stimulating for the brain and it will take longer for you to doze off (just like the backlit screen I mentioned earlier). My advice is to replace the lights with dimmers so you can adjust the brightness in your bedroom.
4. Avoid Big and Fatty Meals
Our bodies cannot process food properly while laying down – it’s designed to digest while standing or sitting. Eating too much before bedtime can cause upset stomachs. Also, try to avoid fatty foods. They take up a lot of work to digest and this might keep you up as well. Give yourself at least three hours. That means if you go to be at 10pm, avoid eating dinner after 7pm.
5. Avoid Alcohol
While alcohol does make you doze off quicker – it also reduces your sleep quality. Research has shown that alcohol affects the REM phase – the most restful phase of a sleep cycle. If you have ever experienced sleeping “light” after a night out drinking (you slept for a long period but you still feel somewhat tired) it’s usually due to the decreased quality of sleep. So avoid it as much as possible before bed.
6. Breathing Exercises
The best state to be in before you go to bed is when you are relaxed. If you are stressed or worried about what is coming up – do a couple breathing exercises. Simply lay down, close your eyes and focus on your slow breathing for a couple minutes. The first couple of times you try this will be hard but it gets easier the more you do it. In the beginning thoughts will be racing through your head but the more you do it, the less thoughts will occupy your mind and the more you will see it’s a very relaxing exercise.
7. Worry Journal
Another great way to tackle your worries is by having a worry journal. Grab a journal or a piece of paper and vertically divide it. Right before you go to bed, on the left write down the things that are bothering you. On the right hand column write down a possible solution. If you can’t come up with a solution, write down a date when you will revisit the problem again. Just doing this is very therapeutic and it will clear your worries in your head so you can fall asleep.
8. Distract Yourself
When you distract yourself with something boring you will naturally fall asleep. Here is a simple thing you can do: count backwards from 300 by 3s. This means that you count 297, 294, 291, and so on. This is just challenging enough at the end of the day but it’s so dull at the same time that it works very well. By distracting yourself this way you turn off your mind that allows you to fall asleep.
9. Avoid Caffeine
Everyone knows caffeine helps you stay up longer and should be avoided before going to bed. However, did you know that caffeine has a half life up to eight hours? That means if you have a cup of coffee at 6pm that you could have caffeine in your body till 2am. That’s not very conducive if you want to go to bed early. It’s best to not have any caffeine after 2pm to ensure you can sleep in time.
10. Hot Bath
An age-old trick to fall asleep is by taking a hot bath. Just make sure to take it at least an hour before bedtime. The best water temperature is over 38 Celsius and you need to be in it for at least twenty minutes for this to be effective.
+Thanh Pham is a productivity nerd and enjoys writing about time management and personal productivity over at Asian Efficiency. When he is not traveling the world with his gadgets, he is reading and writing on business, self-help and productivity.