Sleep. Something you take for granted if you sleep well, but if you’ve ever had trouble sleeping you’ll know just how much it can ruin your life.
I’ve talked a bit about sleeping on this blog, but after having experienced my share of poor sleep over the years (and having had another bout of it recently), I wanted to touch on it again as part of my healthy reboot series. And although it’s not a workout update or insight into healthy eating habits, sleep more than anything for me dictates my health. Which is pretty obvious given that so much regeneration and revitalisation of your cells happens at night, but it’s pretty easy to forget and also take for granted. We’ll be talking about sleep in two parts, I hope you enjoy part one!
Over the last few months since I’ve had trouble sleeping (often waking in the middle of the night) I’ve been paying particular attention to the things that help and hinder really great sleep. Ironically when you’re having great sleep you barely notice it but when it’s bad, it’s oh so bad…. Such is life! After paying a bit more attention to my sleeping routines in the last few weeks (prior to travelling to New York!) my sleep has thankfully improved quite a bit, but in going through this process I did pinpoint a few key things that ensure I have the worst sleep ever. We’ll be sharing another post next week all about how to develop a better sleep routine, but in the meantime check out the things that you can do to sleep really really reallllyyyyy badly (I’m into that approach remember?). Because you totally want to sleep badly right?
Avoid Having A Sleeping Routine
The less your body knows what to expect the better.
What better way to feel completely out of whack than to go to bed and wake up at completely different time of the day, everyday? Our bodies thrive on routine so that’s the absolute last thing you want to do. Go to bed late regularly, and never at the same time. Then roll out of bed whenever you can be bothered!
So you want the best sleep? Develop a sleep routine that you stick to all the time, so that your body knows when to sleep and when to enjoy being awake.
Drink Too Much
Get acquainted with your bathroom at 4am (and a hangover).
Who doesn’t love waking up needing to go to the toilet every night at 4am? So drink lots and lots… Plenty of coffee and alcohol particularly which will throw off the natural rhythms of your body, also causing you to wake up in the middle of the night or have trouble falling asleep.
So you want the best sleep? If you’re someone who wakes up needing to go to the bathroom, consider how much you drink before bed.
Do Zero Exercise
Actually being tired is overrated.
Who wants to actually be tired when you’re trying to drift off? That would be the case if you exercised during the day, but instead let’s avoid all physical exercise. Instead just keep all our pent up nervous energy inside so that when you’re in bed it comes out in a jumble and stops you falling asleep. Ok?
So you want the best sleep? Burn off some of that every every day so that you’ll feel more tired. Even a short walk helps!
Don’t Unplug Before Bed
More is more when it comes to screens before sleeping.
Scroll scroll scroll. Who needs a book when you have instagram, Facebook, pinterest, reddit and tumblr (repeat as necessary)? Whatever you do don’t put that phone or screen down for long enough to rest your eyes and have them adjust to the fact that it’s no longer daytime. Enjoy that white bright light while you can!
So you want the best sleep? Embrace digital downtime so your body can adjust to the night and your brain can slow down.
Sleep With Your Phone Within Arms Reach
Never miss a minute.
On that note, make sure that anything that can be dealt with overnight (like emails or messages) is. Don’t whatever you do quarantine your phone in another room, and instead make sure it’s always within reach and that alert noise is nice and loud so you don’t miss anything.
So you want the best sleep? Keep your phone in another room overnight.
Eat Really Late
The fuller you are when you lie down the better.
If you can manage to eat a heavy dinner just before you lie down to sleep you should, because rather than feeling well digested and your body being able to rest, you can focus all your energy on digesting instead!
So you want the best sleep? Eat as early as feasible so your body has time to digest.
Hit That Snooze Button
And wake to the worst noise possible.
If you can hit snooze every ten minutes for an hour rather than having that extra sleeping time, or just getting up, why not? I mean who doesn’t love that alarm repeated over and over (and over)? And the more awful and bone jarring the alarm sound the better. You definitely shouldn’t have any nice music or a sunlight alarm waking you up slowly and relaxingly – make it that scary beep that makes you wonder whether the fire alarm is going off causing you to jump out of bed in a panic or throw the clock across the room.
So you want the best sleep? Avoid snoozing – set your alarm later or force yourself out of bed.
Nothing interesting happens before lunchtime right?
Even if the normal rhythm of your body wakes you up at a reasonable hour, it’s probably better for you to go back to sleep and wake up later. Why listen to your body when bed is so comfortable? And if you can, make sure that when you do actually get out of bed that you do it under duress in the middle of a sleep cycle, so you can feel your absolute worst. Ok?
So you want the best sleep? Aim to wake up when your body tells you to.
Stay tuned for our post next week all about how I’ve been working on my sleep routine so I can sleep better! Also, I’d love to hear if you have any sleep issues that you deal with, because the ones above are individual to me and I know that everyone is different when it comes to sleep!
Illustration by Natalie Ong.