In this post, I will give you a quick overview of my six most important tips on how to improve your sleep. To cut a long story short:
- Stick to a sleep schedule
- Improve your sleep environment
- Avoid caffeine after 3 pm
- Restrict naps to a max. of 30 minutes
- Establish a pre-sleep routine
- Go to sleep when you’re truly tired
Stick to a sleep schedule
First and foremost, it helps a lot to stick to a fixed sleep schedule. Yes, always waking up and getting to bed at the same time restricts you a lot. For instance, you cannot go out with friends and stay up that long without interfering with your sleep schedule.
However, this method is crucial to get the most out of your sleep. There is nothing more efficient than a fixed sleep schedule and the right amount of sleep. So if you really struggle to feel energized and refreshed when you are awake or if you have to perform a very high level, I would definitely recommend you to adopt a fixed sleeping schedule.
In case you are in a similar situation as me and do not want to sacrifice your social life, I highly recommend you to fix at least the waking up time and catch up with your missed sleeping hours with the help of naps during the day. In one of my articles, I have already talked about why I always wake up at 7 am. Read it when you want to find out more about the benefits of waking up on the same day (click here to access).
Improve your sleep environment
Another significant aspect of good sleep is the create a good sleep environment. It basically comes down to three aspects.
1) Noise down
Make sure that your room is quite. Close windows and doors, put music and TVs off, make sure your neighbors and other people are quite and in case you cannot avoid or eliminate these noises try earplugs; they may also help.
2) Keep your room cool
We tend to sleep best in a slightly cool room (around 18° C or 65° F). A bedroom that is too hot or too cold can interfere with quality sleep. So, make sure you let some fresh air in your room before you go to sleep and temper the room properly.
3) Make sure your bed is comfortable
Your bed covers should leave you enough room to stretch and turn comfortably without becoming tangled. If you often wake up with a sore back or an aching neck, you may need to experiment with different levels of mattress firmness, foam toppers, and pillows that provide more or less support.
4) Reserve your bed for sleeping
Do not work, watch TV, or use your phone, tablet, or computer in bed. Your brain will associate the bedroom with just sleep which makes it easier to unwind and relax at night.
Avoid caffeine after 3 pm
Pretty simple advice to my fellow coffee and energy drink lovers: Avoid this stuff as much as possible in order to improve sleep quality. And if you just cannot or do not want to do without it – as I do not – restrict your consumption to no caffeine after 3 pm.
Restrict naps to a max. of 30 minutes
I am a huge fan of naps. It is a great tool to refresh yourself and regain concentration. However, power naps help the most when you limit them to a maximum of 30 minutes. Otherwise, you will end in REM sleep (deep sleep phase) and feel even worse.
In case you want to have a longer nap, try to sleep for 90 or 180 minutes. A full deep sleep phase takes approximately 90 minutes. This allows you to avoid waking up during REM sleep and feel energized. Keep in mind, though, that in case of such a long nap, you might have difficulties to fall asleep later. So, only make use of longer naps if you have a (little) sleep shortage.
Establish a pre-sleep routine
Many people – including me – swear on pre-sleep routines. In my case, a sleep routine helps me a lot to calm down and fall asleep quicker. I use to answer three questions that help me to reflect on the past day and, then, read for at least 15 minutes. I highly encourage you to try it out by yourself for at least ten days to experience the first results. It will be worth it!
Go to sleep when you are truly tired
Who does not know this situation: You have been laying in your bed for 30 minutes and you just cannot fall asleep. This leads to frustration. The next time this is happening to you, I suggest you to do the following: If you’re not asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed, let some new fresh air into your room, then, go to another room, and do something relaxing like reading or listening to music until you are tired enough to sleep.
This will help you to calm down, release pressure and anger. Additionally, you will fall asleep better and probably even quicker.
And that brings us to the end of today’s article. Thank you a lot for tuning in and reading all this through. Let me know if you want to know more about my evening routine as well as if you have remarks, feedback or questions. Highly appreciated!
All the best to you and yours,