5 Tips to Get Better Sleep

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?” ― Ernest Hemingway

Hint: sleep really starts before you lay down!

I don’t know about you, but the impact of the pandemic overall, and this recent spike causing me to stay home again has made a mess of my sleep patterns. All the stress and anxiety COVID brought to my life made it difficult for me to fall asleep and stay asleep. I decided to do a bit of research on how to improve my sleep during these times and here are a few things I found:

  • 35-40% of adults are sleep deprived in normal times.
  • On average we get 7 hours or less of good sleep.
  • We can go 30-40 days without food, but only 11 days without sleep.

A few new challenges to sleep related to COVID:

  • Too many sleepless nights can aggravate both physical and mental health.
  • Disrupted daily routines worsen the sleep problem.
  • Irregular sleeping and waking times are hard on our wellbeing.

I’ve tried many things to remedy my lack and restlessness of sleep and here are the top five tips that are working for me:

  1. Set a timer for 30 minutes before bedtime to indicate it is time to get ready for bed. At this time, shut off all technology. There are conflicting studies on the impact of blue light from our devices but regardless, it works as a great notification to your brain and body that you are getting ready to sleep.
  2. Keep a boundary between your devices and your bed. Use your bed for sleep and sex. Don’t let your brain associate your bed with work. It will take longer for it to be aware it’s time for rest. This serves as a signal to your brain what your bed is used for and signals sleep time. Also, if you can, charge these devices in another room. This is highly recommended.
  3. Keep the room cooler at night for a deep sleep. 68 degrees is ideal. I keep it at 62 degrees. It is much harder to fall asleep in heat than in cool.
  4. Do a brain dump. We take in the equivalent of 174 newspapers in a single day and our brain is always trying to keep track of all the tasks we have to cross off. If there are things you want to be sure you remember, keep a journal by your bed and write them down (or brain dump) before you lay down for bed.
  5. Establish a specific (and consistent) sleep schedule. We need to maintain our routine with a predetermined bedtime and a wake up time. It doesn’t have to be the same as it was when physically heading to work, but find a reasonable time that works best for you.
“Sleep is God. Go worship.” ― Jim Butcher, Death Masks


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