No worries, I can still get 6 hours of sleep.
Ok, no need to panic. Just don’t look at the time again!
Hmm, 5 hours is still enough.
Maybe, I should have slept a little earlier. This is frustrating. My day’s going to be so bad tomorrow.
I don’t even care anymore.
Next thing, you know, it’s 8 AM, and you’re gulping down hot coffee/tea, searching for your laptop and then rushing out of the door. Once you’re in the car, you wonder whether you locked the main door properly or whether you left the gas on. And, you also have a slight headache which is going to really nag you by the time it’s mid-day. Now, was staying up to watch those WatsApp videos really worth this? Or, staying up and checking Facebook?
In my quest to figure out a permanent way to sleep on time, my first step was to think of all the times the above had happened to me. So, even though I mostly slept off straightaway, some days I was too wired to sleep if I delayed it too much. And then the above would happen.
Rule 1: Every time you want to stay up late, just think of the worst-case scenario of not getting sleep all night.
That really does frighten me to a great extent because I absolutely cannot function after a sleepless night. It’s pure torture.
Trivia: In my research on sleep, I also came across an interesting theory about how our ancestors used to be bi-phasic and slept in four-hour segments with a period of wakefulness in between.Wow, that sounds pretty painful.It’s like getting up at 3 AM, and working for 2 hours and then trying to get back to sleep again. Not happening! But, yeah next time I wake up in the middle of the night, I’ll tell myself it’s something my ancestors did too, and I won’t panic.
Rule 2: Reduce the amount of light you are exposed to while you near your bedtime.
I came across this in almost every article I read. So, this means less light from your TV, laptop and phone. If you’re sitting in a brightly-lit area, your body won’t realize it’s time for you to get to bed. That’s why it makes sense to switch off some of the lights as you near bedtime.
TIP: I recently came across a great app called Twilight. It automatically reduces the harsh blue light from your device as the day progresses using a red filter. Thus, even if you must read something on your phone it’s better to use the app as it limits your exposure to blue light which wreaks havoc on your sleep.
It’s also important to make sure that your curtains don’t allow light to come in because artificial light from outside can also disrupt your sleep during the night. Make sure to limit the number of devices in your room too as that stops your brain from switching off.
TIP: If you don’t have them already, go to the shop and look for sun-block curtains. These help keep out artificial light from neighboring houses and buildings.
Rule 3: Do something really boring before you go to sleep
Remember how I had mentioned I would ask my grandfather about what made him sleep on time every night? Well, apart from the fact that his generation just didn’t stay up as late as ours, he told me watches TV before bed, and that puts him off to sleep. Obviously, for someone as smart as my grandfather, it’s only natural that TV would put him to sleep.
For me, however, I’ve seen that reading a book which is slightly difficult for me to read or which requires too much effort usually puts me off to sleep. Of course, reading a book which I’m really into just makes me more excited, so I try not to read those before bed. For most of our generation, just getting off our multiple devices and reading a book or resting our eyes should do the trick.
Trivia: Apparently listening to meditation music is the new thing. I normally don’t listen to music right before bed as the tune seems to get stuck in my head. But, this might work for some!
Rule 4: Have a light dinner at least two hours before bedtime.
Whenever I have a heavy dinner, I feel uncomfortable and I don’t sleep well either. You probably know this already, but having dinner late throws your sleep rhythm off and makes you put on weight too. So, just eat by 8:30 PM already. You’re not that busy!
Rule 5: Make sure you exercise! But, not too late in the evening.
Being active definitely helps you sleep better. If I go for long stretches without exercising, my sleep starts getting disrupted. So, make sure you get your daily dose of exercise. But, not too late in the evening, because then your body won’t be able to wind down before bedtime.
Also, remember to have a specific bed-time in your head. And, if you cross it, a warning bell should go off in your head. It helps to move your bedtime back by 15 minutes everyday too. It’s all about making small changes gradually. So I’m going to focus on these five for now, and see how it goes. I’m going to have to go now because I need to sleep and it’s getting late. But expect to hear from me soon, on what’s working and what else I find out. In my next article in the series, I’m going to explore how to improve sleep quality along with getting the required hours of sleep. Gotta go now. Goodnight guys!
The previous post in this series was: ‘Why can’t I sleep on time’ Series: Post 1