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Today is #WorldSleepDay. But do we all sleep well every night, and wake up ready to take on the day? Here are a few changes you can make to your routine to make that happen.
We all have had those days when we have had our 8 hours of sleep, but still we have no energy when we wake up. We somehow do not feel well rested. We talk ourselves into being insomniacs, or light sleepers, and it becomes easy to again blame things that are apparently outside our control, for something that is as personal as our own sleep. We wear those ‘I didn’t sleep well’ nights as badges of honor, justifying the number of cups of coffee we gulp down.
I used to do that too, and I knew I had to break that pattern. And so I did.
I wanted to share the changes I made in my life that have helped me immensely, to not only sleep better, but also wake up much more energized than I ever did before.
I do not have a TV in my bedroom, and that was a conscious choice. I wanted to create an environment of rest and relaxation in the bedroom, rather than having devices that stimulate me just before falling asleep. I leave my phone far away from my bed, and if you can, leave it outside in another room altogether.
Studies have shown that using the phone just before bedtime makes you take longer to go to sleep, reduces your REM sleep and prevent you from relaxing, contrary to our belief.
When you eat too close to your bedtime, your body is still digesting the food. You will have trouble going to sleep and staying asleep, and you will also not feel hungry enough for breakfast the next morning.
So if you want sound sleep and want to wake up hungry; hungry for breakfast, and hungry for your plans the next day, keep a gap of about 2-3 hours between your final meal of the day and your bedtime.
Caffeine takes a while to get out of your system, and experts suggest that you stop consuming caffeine 6 to 8 hours prior to your bedtime. Every time you intake caffeine, the stress hormone cortisol is stimulated, and isn’t stress the last thing we want before we hit our beds?
Schedule all the coffee meetings in the first half of the day, and if you have to have meetings in the second half, let those be smoothie meetings!
Sometimes, it is just our preoccupied monkey mind, jumping from one thought to another, that prevents us from going to sleep, no matter how badly we want to.
Before lying down, sit for a few minutes, observing your thoughts, and what is going on in your mind. Try not to label the thoughts, or delve deep into them, but try to just observe them, one passing after the other. Slowly, the mind will wind down and quieten. You can then try to pick out 3 things that happened in the day that you are really grateful for. They could be really simple things – the cool morning breeze on your face , the delicious meal, you sticking to your gym routine, or waking up next to your loved one. This helps you reflect on the positives from the day, and puts you in a positive mindset for the next day.
As Rumi said, “Gratitude is the wine for the soul. Go on. Be drunk.”
Sticking to these 4 rules in my life have changed the sleep game for me. There was a time when I used to literally fear the night, fear the process of going to sleep. Now, with my evening / bedtime routine, I look forward to sleeping and recharging myself to take on the world every morning.
Here is wishing you all a sound sleep, every night!
A version of this was first published here.
Image source: videoblocks
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This is a working list. Will keep adding to it.
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