A couple of weeks ago while I was at work my wife sent me an email. She said she was frustrated with how poorly we had been sleeping and that she wanted us to make some changes. Below are the changes we’ve made. The changes have not yet been life-changing, but our sleep quality has gone up tremendously.
Removed Our Phones From Near Our Beds
I did not realize how much having my phone beside, and sometimes in, my bed affected my sleep. Almost anytime it vibrated I would roll over and check it. The notification was always insignificant and ensured I never made it into a deep sleep.
I would spend anywhere between a half-hour and an hour every night on my phone. Now, getting into bed means it’s BEDTIME. This is not the time to check Twitter or get sucked into a YouTube hole watching related videos. No matter how funny the goats with long ears look it’s not worth watching in bed when I should be sleeping.
I have to get OUT of bed to turn my alarm off. This has been extremely helpful with my second step: we stopped snoozing our alarm!
We Stopped Snoozing Our Alarms
There are several articles and journals that have discussed the negative effects of snoozing your alarm. While at the time it may seem like you will die if you don’t get those extra nine minutes, it hurts you in the long run. When you snooze your alarm you restart your sleep cycle. If you’ve ever woken up feeling worse after a snooze it may be because you were in a deeper sleep than when your alarm first went off.
Since I’ve stopped snoozing my alarm I feel a little better about myself. When my alarm goes off I walk to the bathroom sink to turn it off. While there I have an internal struggle of whether to hit snooze or just go ahead and jump in the shower. Jumping in the shower is always the better option and it’s obvious about 10 minutes into my morning that snoozing would have been a bad idea. I’ve lived the snooze four times life and it’s not so great.
When We Can’t Sleep We Get Out of Bed
It may seem counterintuitive, but if you can’t sleep, get up and do something. You shouldn’t try to force yourself to sleep by lying in bed saying, “If I go to sleep right now I can still get blank hours of sleep.” This is unhealthy and it leads to sleep problems. Instead of lying there, get up and engage in a non-physical hobby or read a boring book. When engaging in your hobby, be it writing, drawing, knitting, etc., don’t over-stimulate your brain. Also, make sure you aren’t doing anything physical. No working out before bed! If you’re going to read, don’t get sucked into a book that you’re not going to be able to put down. Read something that you think will have you asleep before you getting to the second page. The moment that you feel tired and want to sleep, go get back in bed. It’s not science, but I like to think of this as me giving my brain an ultimatum. Either we can read this book that I know you don’t care about, or we can go to sleep. The balls in your court, brain!
Take Melatonin Every Night
This has been a part of our routine for a long time. I swear by melatonin. Melatonin is a natural hormone that the body produces. Taking this before bed merely supplements your body’s natural production of melatonin. It’s also non-habit forming for those scared of sleeping medicine.
These are all steps that you can take tonight to help you get better sleep. Following these steps will likely not change your life, but it is likely that it will help. What steps have you taken to improve your sleep quality? Do you have healthy habits you would like to share? Comment below!