Everyone sleeps, but not everyone feels rested when they do so. Some people can get by on four hours of sleep each night, while others need at least nine hours of sleep before they feel ready to face the day. I usually aim for seven.
There are a number of steps you can take to make sure you get the most out of your sleep each night. If you want to regularly attain more peaceful, restful sleep, start with these:
- Disconnect. Commit to turning off all phones, tablets, and computers well before bed each night. Constant connection to the world can lead to distraction and restlessness. Make sure you have time to start winding down, thinking about sleep, and getting ready for bed. This is a great time to read some fiction or spend some time with a loved one.
- Dim the lights. Besides turning off electronics, make sure to dim the lights around your house an hour or more before bed, and sleep in total darkness. When it's dark, your body produces melatonin, a hormone that helps you sleep. When exposed to bright lights before bed, your body produces less melatonin and you won't sleep as peacefully.
- Commit to consistency. Your body naturally works like clockwork. If you keep to a consistent bedtime, your circadian rhythm will catch on and you'll start getting tired at the same time every night. To commit to consistency, try setting an alarm for an hour before bed to remind yourself to start your evening routine.
- Get smart. If you want to take your sleep habits to the next level, invest in a smart accessory that tracks your sleep. I use a Jawbone UP, which tracks the length & quality of my sleep each night. Once you've started tracking sleep data, you can set goals and work to continuously improve your sleep habits.
Do you have an evening routine? Chances are the answer is yes, though you may not realize it. Take the time to intentionally map out your nightly habits, so you can make sure you prepare for a restful sleep every night. Although there's some variation each night, here's my evening routine now:
9:00 PM – 9:15 PM — Wash, brush, & change
9:15 PM – 9:30 PM — Stretch
9:30 PM – 9:45 PM — Evening Prayers (with Rachel)
9:45 PM – 10:15 PM — Reading (with Rachel)
10:15 PM – 10:30 PM — Wind-down
10:30 PM — Fall asleep
Question: How often do you feel fully rested after a night's sleep?