If you struggle with a good night’s sleep, you are not alone! Lots of people have trouble with it.
If you haven’t seen it already, check out Andy’s video on optimizing your bedroom for a good night’s sleep — there’s lots in there to help set the stage.
But for today, rather than physical strategies for creating a more optimal sleep space, I’m going to talk about strategies and actions you can take to better set yourself up for bed and to help increase your awareness of the importance of a good night’s sleep.
Just like preparing the space for sleep, these strategies can help you prepare your time for sleep, helping to optimize your approach to bedtime, starting much earlier in the day than you might imagine!
This is all covered in the video above, but here’s a brief summary:
Relaxing bedtime routine
Just like brushing your teeth and reading a story when you were a kid, having a routine that signals “bedtime” and settles you down can help trigger your brain into moving into sleep mode. Some things you might try: journaling, short meditation, breathing or relaxation exercises. Not a lot, just enough to rein it in and focus on rest.
Set your alarm
The decisions we make about what time to go to bed can often go out the window when that time arrives and we’re “busy” doing something else. Making that decision on what time to go to bed and setting it into your phone can help to provide you just enough of a nudge to remind you that this is what you wanted to do when you were thinking objectively about the importance of sleep
New evening activities
Rather than spending the evening lost in multiple episodes of a TV show or scrolling to the end of your social media feed (yes, I’ve done it — there is an end), set some rules for yourself like an episode limit, a time limit, or even a time after which you won’t start one of these activities. Give yourself some freedom to find different, maybe more enriching activities with yourself or the people you live with.
Get ready for bed as soon as you finish dinner
While getting ready for bed at 7:00 or 8:00 might feel odd at the start, getting the whole brushing and washing thing out of the way at the start of your evening can help you not only be ready for bed when the time comes (no need to motivate yourself to get “started” getting ready for bed), but for some of you, it can help limit the amount of eating you do after dinner. Double bonus!
Schedule your sleep into your calendar
This might seem a bit extreme, but making an “appointment” to go to bed elevates the level of importance it has to at least the level of importance we give work, errands, appointments, or time with friends. It also helps to put your bedtime in the context of your whole day, helping you to organize yourself so that you’re actually ready when bedtime comes, rather than rushing around trying to get things done in the evening that should have happened earlier in the day.
Good sleep can take time and it can definitely take practice. But being as important as it is, it can be worth working a variety of strategies to get the most out of sleep as you can!