Sleep is an important daily habit that people NEED. Your entire body needs to get better sleep to function properly the next day. However, not many people pay attention to it. Not to mention, people believe it is okay if they run on four hours of sleep. It has almost become a bragging right. I can hear the conversation in my head now. But, people need to realize that sleep is not something to be messed around with. Instead, we should be treating it as practice. It is something we have to PRACTICE every day to become better at it. The better we get at it, the better we sleep, the better we perform, the better we feel. Today, and every day, let's think about our sleep and take it seriously. Let's chat about why we should better our sleep and tips on how we can get better sleep.
A Sleepy Vibe and What It Does to Those Around You
As a teacher, I strive to get better sleep. I've researched and tried different tips on how to get better sleep. There is a very BIG reason for this...
When I was not getting enough sleep, I would come into work sluggish and sometimes grumpy. I would try to perk myself up during morning meetings and being around others. But... this just didn't work for me.
I could feel the sleepiness in my eyes. Although, no one could see it... I felt like my eyes weighed five pounds.
However, I noticed that on days I didn't get enough sleep, they were my worst days with the kids. In other words, I had more behavior issues with them. For example, I would get the moans and groans of having to do work. Or, I would get a lot of back-talking because they were grumpy, too.
That being said, there are always kids who do this every day. Because they also have sleep troubles. But, I noticed on the days that I didn't get enough sleep the kids who were not normally complaining or grumpy, WERE. I clearly was not using my own three tips on how to get better sleep.
These kids were feeding off my vibe. They could feel it. They knew I was tired and/or grumpy. And they were feeling it, too.
Just remember that your vibe can influence a room. This little experiment shows it to be true.
Why It's Important to Get Better Sleep
A lack of sleep directly affects your Prefrontal Cortex (PFC) in your brain. Your PFC makes up 30% of your brain. That covers a very large area. So, you want to make sure to keep this part of your brain healthy. Most importantly, your PFC is your supervisor or like Daniel Amen likes to say "like your boss at work."
Your PFC is in charge of focus, forethought, impulse control, organization, planning, and learning from mistakes. When there are problems with your PFC you have a short attention span, you're brutally honest and you make bad decisions and/or conduct bad habits.
Let's connect the dots here. You get terrible sleep the night before. Now, your PFC activity is low. So, you become more impatient, less productive, make bad decisions with food, co-workers, or even handling a serious situation that arises. Also, you may say things you don't mean. It all adds up to a not so good day. And, it's ALL because you didn't get enough sleep. It is important, my friends.
That's why you need to pay attention to advice on how to get better sleep.
Important for Hormone Regulation
Sleep is one of the most important things you can do to recover your body. We ask our bodies to do a lot in one day. We need to give it time to recover so it can perform all over again the next day.
Your body recovers in many ways during sleep, especially if you are an athlete. But, the most important way your body recovers is in hormone regulation. When you get less sleep, your hormones can become out of whack. And, let's face it when our hormones aren't doing the right things it can cause all kinds of problems. Problems such as weight gain, low motivation, depression, and more.
So if you are trying to lose weight, you better start getting some sleep. And if you are not trying to lose weight, guess what? You better get some rest because irregular hormones can affect you, too.
Want to Have a Productive Morning? Get Some Sleep!
When we have a good night's sleep, we are able to get up in the morning. When we don't have a good night's sleep, we struggle. That's when you feel groggy first thing in the morning. Or you set your alarm to get up at a certain time to get some self-care in. But you slept like crap. So, you turn your alarm off and go back to bed. This, in turn, sets off the rest of your day.
A productive morning equals a better day.
The morning is the start of our day.
… believe it or not, it has a very high impact on how our day turns out. Or even how we feel the rest of the day.
The best way to have a productive morning is to get better sleep. The kind where you can get up in the morning and do your thing. Practice self-care, get downstairs and exercise, biohack, whatever it is that you do.
Tips on How to Get Better Sleep
So, now that I've told you some reasons why sleep is important you may be wondering well, how do I get better sleep?
There are many ways to get better sleep. But I want to tell you three of the best tips for getting better sleep.
Sleep In a Cave
But, don't really go to sleep in a cave.
To clarify, your room should be like a cave... DARK. Your room needs to be darker. Darker paint and blackout curtains. Black or gray furniture. No lights from electronics. And, you can also wear an eye mask to even further the darkness.
But why dark?
Because most lighting is stimulating. The light goes through your eyes and enters your brain. In that instant, your brain is told that you should be awake. There's light, it's time to get up. It's how our bodies and brain are programmed. You need to try to eliminate as much light in your room as you can.
The digital clock, the power button on the TV, the light from your phone. White walls or bright colored walls.
For example, my room is dark red with black and gray accented furniture. I also have gray blinds with black blackout curtains.
Try as best as you can to get rid of the lights in your room. True Dark makes Junk Light Dots that can help you cover up any lights emitted from electronics.
A dark cave-like room can help you improve your sleep. Because no light is getting to your brain to tell it that it's time to get up.
This is a very important tip on how to get better sleep.
Phone Apps and Settings
I recently found a specific setting on my phone to help with focus and sleeping.
I have a Samsung S10 and I have also heard that it is on the Samsung S9, too. So, if you have a newer phone you may want to look for it. iPhone users I'm sure you have something in your settings app, too. I just can't help you there. But explaining it may help you find it because it may be something similar.
As I was searching through my phone about 2 weeks ago, I found a section in the settings app called Digital Wellbeing. I was fascinated right off the bat.
First, I had NO IDEA it was even there, keeping track of how much I was on my phone. Talk about a shock! In this section, it tells you how many minutes you have been on your phone and what apps take the most of your time. Next, it tells you how many times you have unlocked your phone. In this section, you can also set app timers and set screen time goals.
But, what I found most important here is the Wind Down setting. This changes your screen to grayscale. I didn't have a clue that was on my phone. I was actually talking to my partner about inventing something to help with bright screens at night.
The lights on your phone are very stimulating. So if you are on it before bed, you are going to stay up for longer. Turning my phone to grayscale at a certain time helps with the brightness and the light is not as stimulating. This would also help if you wake up in the middle of the night.
Waking up in the night to a bright screen can keep you up for hours. Turning your screen to grayscale will help prevent that.
This is another great tip on how to get better sleep.
Do Not Disturb
Your phone also has a Do Not Disturb setting. If you go into your settings, under Notifications you will find that button.
Once you do that, you go to the Do Not Disturb settings and turn it on how you want. So mine is set to turn on as scheduled. I have my do not disturb on at 10 pm- 7 am. This means I do not get any notifications.
You want to set this up so you are not disturbed an hour before bed. For example, I go to bed close to 11 pm so I set mine to start at 10 pm.
People get a thrill out of checking their phone or their emails. We all do. But this means we are being stimulated right before we go to bed. If you get exciting news right before dropping your head on a pillow, it's going to be hard to go to sleep.
To clarify, turn on your do not disturb settings an hour before bed and turn your screen to grayscale. These two simple hacks may help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
This is a great tip on how to get better sleep.
Another important tip on how to get better sleep is to do calming activities at night.
Do not get into stimulating activities, otherwise, you are going to be up longer. For example, if I get home late at night because I had a game it takes me a lot longer to fall asleep. This is because the game is stimulating and my brain is still wired to go. I haven't done things to calm it yet.
So, try to come up with a calming nightly routine that is going to help you wind down from the day.
An hour of calming activities should be good but if you need more, that's okay.
Activities such as meditation, sitting outside, taking a leisurely walk, reading a book, drinking tea, anything that is calming and relaxing to you. These can be done an hour before bedtime. These activities help to calm your brain down.
So, if you want to go to bed at a certain time I'd schedule it. Then, whenever you decide to hit the hay start doing things to help slow your brain down an hour beforehand. This involves the apps that can be used on your phone and calming activities. And don't forget to go to bed in a cave-like setting to get the best sleep. These three tips on how to get better sleep will be very beneficial for you.
If you want to wake up early to get things done, these are 3 tips that can help you get better sleep. Because even though we end our day with sleep, it is the beginning of our next day. It all starts with sleep. In other words, how you sleep the night before will affect how you feel in the morning and the rest of the day. So get some sleep people! Try these tips on how to get better sleep NOW!
Certified Brain Health Coach
Owner of SustainaBRAIN