ultimate sleep guide

Sleep is more important than it is let on. It is one of the most crucial factors affecting overall quality of life as it serves as the replenishing state for the body and performs numerous other functions. You will find out all there is to know about sleep, including sleeping schedules and the optimal amount of sleep required in this guide!

sleep schedule

Sleep schedule

Establishing a sleep schedule means setting a regular routine to ensure you get enough sleep. Consistency is key: going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can have remarkable benefits. Creating this routine involves considering factors like your work, school, or personal obligations, as well as how much sleep you need.

Initially, adjusting to this schedule may take some time, but eventually, your body will adapt and naturally crave sleep at the designated times. To transition to your ideal sleep schedule, gradually adjust your bedtime and wake-up time by 15-30 minutes each day until you reach your desired times. 

To establish a new sleep schedule, begin by setting fixed bedtime and wake-up times. Write down the exact times you aim to go to bed and wake up. It's important to maintain these times consistently throughout the week, including weekends. Sleeping in on weekends can disrupt your natural sleep rhythm, especially if you're already getting enough sleep during the week.

how much sleeep do you need

How much sleep do you need?

Getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night falls within the recommended range for adults. Consistently achieving this amount of sleep is beneficial for your overall well-being. It's crucial because sleep occurs in stages, and deep sleep is particularly important. During deep sleep, your body undergoes restoration and prepares for the challenges of the next day.

How to fall asleep?

techniques to falling asleep

For some people, falling asleep can be challenging, even with a set schedule. However, there are various techniques you can try to help hasten the process:

ditch the screen before bed

Ø  Have a screen-free hour before bed: Avoid looking at screens before bedtime, as they can hinder the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Instead, engage in relaxing activities such as reading with dim light, meditating, journaling, or anything else that helps calm your mind.

Ø  Control your breath: Practice breathing techniques to slow down your breathing, which can significantly aid in calming your body and mind, thus helping you fall asleep faster. One technique to try is the 4-7-8 routine: exhale completely through your mouth, then quietly inhale through your nose for a count of four, hold your breath for seven counts, and exhale completely through your mouth for eight counts. Repeat this cycle three more times.

counting helps you get to sleep

Ø  Count backward from 200: Another simple yet effective technique is to mentally count backward from 200 with your eyes closed. Focusing on calming activities helps prevent excitement and racing thoughts, which can interfere with sleep. Research suggests that even just thinking about engaging in physical activities can increase blood pressure, so it's best to focus on mundane and calming scenarios to promote relaxation.

Ø  Exercise: Working out during the day helps you fall asleep faster by using up your energy. Even a short walk or light exercise can help if you're not into sports.

avoid caffeine

Ø  Watch your nutrition and caffeine intake: Avoid consuming caffeine in the afternoon or evening, as it can affect your sleep for hours. Also, try not to eat anything within 2 hours of bedtime. Good nutrition is essential for overall well-being.

Ø  Improve your sleeping environment: Check if your room is too warm, if there's unwanted light or noise, and if your pillows and mattress are comfortable. We would recommend using silk pillowcases and bedding as they provide that sense of relaxation and comfort. Creating a cool, dark, quiet, and comfortable environment can enhance your sleep quality.

try to relax before going to bed

Ø  Consider other factors: Stress, family responsibilities, substance use, and sleep disorders like sleep apnea or insomnia can also impact your sleep. Don't hesitate to seek professional help if needed.

How to wake up?

Waking up in the morning can feel like a battle, especially when you're groggy from not getting enough sleep. But not too worry, there are some simple yet effective tips to help you conquer that snooze button and start your day off right:

Ø  Stick to one alarm: Instead of setting multiple alarms that you can easily ignore, opt for just one.

don't hit the snooze button

Ø  Use the 5-second rule: When your alarm goes off, count down from five and force yourself to get out of bed. Don't let your mind trick you into staying under the covers for "just five more minutes."

Ø  Just get out of bed:  This can be easier said than done, yes. But once you're up and moving, staying awake becomes much easier.

Ø  Establish a morning routine: Having a set routine can help kick start your brain and get you into gear. Whether it's chugging a glass of water or braving a cold shower, or that skin care, stick to your routine like clockwork.

open the curtains

Ø  Let there be light: Open those curtains and let natural light flood your room. Light signals to your body that it's time to wake up, making it harder to crawl back into bed.

Ø  Make your bed uncomfortable: If you find yourself too cozy to leave, crank up the heat or open the blinds to make staying in bed less appealing

Final thoughts

Understanding the importance of sleep is vital for improving your overall well-being. Quality sleep contributes to a healthier lifestyle in various ways. It enhances physical health, boosts productivity, regulates emotions, improves physical performance, aids in weight management, and even promotes longevity. With this in mind, it's essential to adopt habits that promote better sleep.

Additionally, if you find yourself unable to fall asleep within 20-30 minutes of lying in bed, it's advisable to get up and engage in a relaxing activity for 15 minutes before trying again. This can help break the cycle of frustration and anxiety associated with insomnia, allowing you to approach sleep with a calmer mindset.

Moreover, for individuals who work from home or have minimal social distractions, exploring polyphasic sleep may be beneficial. Polyphasic sleep involves sleeping multiple times a day, often through short naps, to reduce total sleep time while maintaining energy levels. This sleep pattern can be particularly suitable for those seeking to optimize their time and productivity.

March 11, 2024 — Michelle Fletcher Smith