How can you sleep better?
Without a good night’s sleep, you’re not at your best. A lack of sleep can cause impatience, a negative mindset, and adversely affect general well-being and performance for you (and those around you). It goes without saying that sleep is important for your mind and body!
Studies on total sleep deprivation (TSD) reveal it doubles the odds of making place keeping errors and triples the number of lapses in attention. That could have serious consequences if you’re performing a high-risk activity like driving a vehicle.
Many people suffer from inadequate sleep, but decades of scientific research show that you can improve your sleep significantly by taking small steps during the day and at night.
Best daytime practices for better sleep at night
Routine Keeping a regular bedtime routine helps to maintain your body’s internal clock. A routine consists of calming activities, such as reading, in the hour leading up to going to bed. Consistency is the key – so aim for a regular sleep schedule during the week and at weekends. On average we need 7 ¾ hours of sleep per night.
Exercise Dr John Medina recommends 150 minutes of moderate to intense exercise per week. Exercise is believed to reduce levels of tiredness during the daytime and assist concentration levels. There is one caveat – some research suggests that intense exercise within 4 hours of going to bed can interfere with sleep.
Caffeine Intake Caffeine stays in your body for a long time: it takes 6 hours to reduce by 50%. Let’s say you drink a caffeinated drink at 2pm, by 8pm 50% of it is still in your body. The answer? Stop drinking caffeine after 2pm.
Alcohol Intake Whilst the sedative qualities of alcohol can relax you in preparation for going to sleep, it conversely reduces the quality of your sleep. Studies show that even low amounts of alcohol can decrease sleep quality by almost 10%.
Electronic Devices The light from your phone, tablet, or computer stimulates the brain, preventing it from beginning to relax in readiness for sleep. In preparation for a good night’s sleep, turn off all electronic devices at least one hour before you go to bed.
Positive Mindset Your mindset during the day influences your mindset during the night, so by keeping a positive mindset during the day, you will carry it on through the night.
During the REM or (dream) part of your sleep, your brain processes what happened during the day. If you have a negative mindset during the day, one which lets in saboteurs, it will be there at night too. To stay in a positive mindset during the day, plan in time to ‘reset’. A ‘reset’ for your brain means focusing on one thing and letting go of your thoughts. Focus your attention on your body and one of the 5 senses for 10 seconds. This will enable you to experience more calm and be more focused, happier, and more effective. Remember, your mindset during the day has an impact on your mindset during the night! Here’s a simple schedule you can use:
- Start the day with a reset rep for at least 15 minutes.
- Then throughout the day, take a 2-minute reset every 2 hours.
- Closer to bedtime, do a 5-minute reset rep before you go to sleep.
Best nighttime practices for sleeping better at night
Leave screens outside Leave all electronics outside the bedroom. Trying to sleep near your phone or computer sends a signal that your brain should stay on alert, which prevents you going to sleep.
Block out light and sound Removing all external distractions is a good way to stay asleep once you’ve got to sleep. Wear eye shades and/or ear plugs, so outside signals do not wake you up.
Stop thinking Command your mind to sleep by stopping thinking and analyzing. Easier said than done?
To reset your brain, pay attention to one of the sensations of your body such as breathing, let go of your thoughts – and relax. Like sleep itself, when you reset your brain, it helps mental restoration. Resets also reduce the amount of sleep your body needs. Train your mind to go back to sleep, rather than worrying the night away. Also let go of anxiety about getting the exact amount of sleep. Your body has great wisdom! If you are sleep-deprived tonight, your body will adjust and make up the next night.
Press Reset For A Positive Mindset
As a result of modern life, you may have conditioned yourself to be connected 24/7 – but the toll it has on your brain and body is not sustainable. People often first notice the effects of this on their sleep quality. Your brain and body need time to reset and recharge during the day and at night, so you can be at your best and take on challenges with a positive mindset. Taking time to reset during the day and at night is not easy, but it is essential if you want to be at your best.
- ‘Brain Rules For Work: The Science Of Thinking Smarter In The Office And At Home’ by Dr John Medina
- ‘Positive Intelligence: Why Only 20% of Teams and Individuals Achieve Their True Potential’ by Shirzad Chamine
- ‘Finding The Space To Lead: A Practical Guide To Mindful Leadership’ by Janice Marturano