I’ve had a problem since I was about 16 where it would take me up to 2 hours of lying in bed before I’d fall asleep. It wasn’t a huge problem then, but as I get older and, more recently, as I need to wake up around 5:15am, I’m finding a lack of sleep is wearing me out. Its a common problem, as a Google search for ‘How to sleep better’ brings up 63 million results of people giving generic lists of tricks to sleep better and wake up easier.
I thought of posting a list like this to the readers of this blog, but realized that I’m not generic. All of these tricks don’t work for me. So instead I’m posting a list of things I actually do that help. Now I’m not fully conformed yet. I still take a long time to sleep some nights and wake up groggy some mornings, but I do think that these ideas help. Discipline is the main factor on why tricks like the ones listed below don’t work. Sleep isn’t a random thing for most people, so neither should be how you approach a good sleep.
As I said before, these ideas are what works for me, they may not work for you, but I think this is better than just a list of every idea.
1. Alter your late night habits. I’ve found that trying to do things like cleaning or organizing something before bed gives your mind and body an extra jump, which is not what you want before you try to sleep. What I do to relax is read while in bed. Make sure its a fiction book that doesn’t require too much thinking. No magazines with photos, just a simple novel because you want to look only at black and white lines.
2. Relax yourself. Keep lights low. Put on some softer music via radio or iPod that can shut off at a certain time, so you can fall asleep to it. I’ve often listened to an iPod with the lights off and found I fall asleep within 3 songs.
3. Blank out your mind. People say meditating or praying works for them. I’ve found that deep breathing, counting your breaths and mentally blacking out my mind works for me. What I do is picture my whole mind, then slowly make it all black. It sounds weird, but I’ve found it works. Just picture putting a black cover over your brain, blocking out all thoughts.
1. Use night lights in the bathroom. I’ve learned to navigate my house without lights, so that if I need to get up to let the dog out, I don’t need to turn on lights. Getting a facefull of bright light can make you wake up too much if a bathroom break is needed, so keep lights low by using a very low nightlight.
2. Keep windows open. I like having a fresh breeze in my room because I find fresh air is more relaxing than stale. I can also see that since you breath so much in one area while you sleep, closed windows can build up the CO2 levels in your room. The constant influx of air keeps the oxygen levels in your higher and can help you wake up better.
1. Multiple alarms. I’ve used this since I was a teen. I’ll put a clock by my bed, then another across the room that makes it so I have to get up when it goes off. This little trick makes you do more than hit a snooze button. It stimulates your body to react and therefore wake up faster.
2. Drink water. This is a great trick. What I do is simple: drink a large glass of water before bed(mine’s about a litre). First, this is healthy for you to do. I believe it helps cleanse your body as you sleep. Second it makes getting up easier because you normally have to hit the bathroom. This obviously doesn’t work if you normally need to pee during the night. Nothing makes you get up faster than having to pee. Sounds funny, but its true!
3. Turn on lights fast. To wake up fast, and get less groggy, turn on lights as soon as you can, so you can’t hide in the dark and keep sleepy. Light stimulates the brain, causing it to start thinking fast.
So taking these ideas into consideration, what else do you do to wake up early and energized?