Let’s talk about the individuals like myself that must be at work by 5am. How do we manage to get the recommend hours of sleep when having to get up earlier and still maintain a balanced family and social life.
It’s possible with changing some habits, okay let’s face it no one likes to change certain habits including myself however, the real question is why is a sleep schedule important? A poor or irregular sleep schedule has negative effects. Without enough sleep or with irregular sleep habits, people can wake up feeling unrefreshed and have signs of irritability, depression, and the list goes on.
Make this a change gradual
If you’re currently going to bed at 10pm, don’t decide that tonight you’re going to get to bed by 9pm. First, your internal clock resets at a rate of about one hour per day and some body systems may take even longer. But more generally, when you’re making behavioral changes instead of trying to jump all the way to the finish line right away and then missing you should aim to take smaller steps to build up to your bigger goal.
It’s also important to give your body time to adjust as you start bumping up your bedtime. If you’re not tired enough to fall asleep after 10-15 minutes of tossing and turning, get up and do something else that will calm your mind like meditation. One core intent of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia is stimulus control, which aims to associate the bed with sleeping, and not with stimulating behavior (like watching TV).
Do right now: Decide to go to bed 15 minutes earlier tonight than you usually do. Write it down or say it out loud. Understand that you may not fall asleep right away, and give yourself permission if you fail so long as you attempt to get to bed at that time.
A few tips that have helped me create a good bedtime routine
- Exercise: Regular exercise is important to overall health; it reduces stress and helps promote better sleep patterns. Remember it is important not to exercise too close to bedtime as that can stimulate the nervous system.
- Avoid Stimulates: Caffeinated beverages and foods, including coffee, energy drinks, and certain sugary sweets especially if taken in the evening
- Avoid nicotine: Yes you heard me correct nicotine is linked to sleep disorders.
- Use your bed for only sleep or sex. Avoid doing any other activities in bed, such as working, reading, eating, or watching TV.
Going to go to sleep quickly
Now that you have started thinking about a sleep routine and how to taper your bedtime forward you’re halfway there. The other half is part physical and part mental. Falling asleep is like landing a plane. If you haven’t landed a plane before, that’s ok, the good news is that it is only metaphorically like landing a plane.
As with landing a plane, you must make sure you are on the correct flight path and that you are slowing down.
A bedtime routine is one way to simplify this delicate process, by practicing it you develop a positive reinforcement feedback loop that facilitates slowing down and preparing for sleep. The nice thing about sleep routines is that you can personalize them, with a mix of meditation, a short 10-minute evening yoga stretch, playing 528 Hz sleep music. I do this routine nightly and it has changed my bedtime routine for the better
In addition to these good habits, it is recommended that you develop a consistent routine leading up to bedtime to “set the mood”. Most people set intentions in the morning before starting their day, but what about evening rituals and preparing ourselves for the night?
Example of a good bedtime intention would be “I choose calmness and peace”, now take a deep breath, hold, and exhale. Test the bedtime intention daily over the course of seven days. Be observant of how it supports you feeling rested, inspired, and ready to conquer the coming day.
Try this affirmation:
10 Calming Bedtime Affirmations
- I release today.
- I forgive it all.
- I have permission to fall asleep.
- I now enter a place of deep and restful sleep.
- I am grateful.
- I embrace my dreams.
- May my sleep be peaceful
- I invite the qualities of good sleep.
- I am in harmony with the universe
- I choose peace.
Thank you, Connie
Stay tuned for next week’s tip.