Let us guess. You spend way too long lying in bed, staring at the ceiling and cursing all those sheep you should be counting. Yeah, us too. Insomnia sucks. And it’s about time we played Sleeping Beauty instead. Research shows that a good night’s sleep can slow the signs of aging, improve metabolism (hello skinny jeans!) and even put you in a better mood while sleep deprivation takes its toll on our physical and mental health. But how on earth do we slip into lala land when we’re so busy tossing and turning? If there’s a dream involved, we’re determined to find it. So here are our top 10 tips for getting a great night’s sleep and waking up energized.
10 TIPS FOR GETTING A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP
Practice a pattern Develop a regular sleeping pattern of going to bed and waking up around the same time each day, even on weekends. Try to work with your natural rhythms, embracing your inner night owl or early bird.
Follow the 90-minute rule Think of sleep in 90-minute cycles. In 90 minutes, you go through all of the stages of sleep essential for rest and recovery, including deep sleep and REM. Remember, 6 cycles = 9 hours. 5 cycles = 7.5 hours. It’s best to not wake up mid-cycle to avoid grogginess, so if you need to be up at 6:30 am, go to bed by 11 pm for five, 90-minute cycles.
Create bedtime rituals Take time to wind down with a cup of tea or a good book. Avoid stressful conversations and unwind by listening to music or doing some light stretching or meditation. If your mind tends to race with things left undone, write them down and plan to do them tomorrow or try to let them go.
Tub it up Try taking a hot bath. By soaking in warm water, your temperature rises—and the rapid cool-down period immediately afterward relaxes you, encouraging deep sleep. Soak in the tub or 20 or 30 minutes, two hours before bed. A shower can also work, but it’s less effective.
Unplug Avoid using technology late at night. TVs, tablets and laptops all use LED light that is similar to daylight, preventing melatonin from being released in your body, which can trigger tiredness in the morning. Enjoy an hour or two of technology-free time before bed.
Practice gratitude Reflect on your day and list three things that went well or that you are proud of. Share your list with your partner or friend, or write it down in a journal. This simple act of expressing gratitude can help ease mental and emotional strain and prepare you for a restful sleep.
Get the essentials right Invest in a quality mattress, as well as pillows and sheets. Make sure your bed is comfortable and supportive for a long night’s rest. You should air your mattress regularly as well as turn it to avoid permanent dips where it holds your weight the most.
Space matters Make your bedroom a peaceful sanctuary for rest and ensure it is a space you enjoy. Try to incorporate basic feng shui principles for good energy: Avoid clutter, don’t put one side of your bed against a wall or under a window, and embrace peaceful colours such as white, light blue and green.
Live healthy Your overall health affects the quality of your sleep. Take care of yourself by exercising regularly, drinking lots of water and following a healthy diet. Avoid eating or drinking heavily late in the day and limit caffeine and sugar consumption.
Get outside Daylight is key to regulating your sleep patterns. Try to get outside in natural sunlight for at least 30 minutes every day. If possible, wake up with the sun or use very bright lights in the morning to help your body wake up.
Mike Gettis, Co-Founder Endy Sleep, PEng MBA, is a tech entrepreneur with expertise in growing and developing vertical product driven businesses.