“Make rest a necessity, not an objective” Jim Rohn
1. Prioritize sleep
The top athlete’s of the world are selfish sleepers.
• Envision and have gratitude for the outcome. During sleep, the brain can do things it just can’t do in waking: Turn on & repair tissue and brain, promote growth, memory consolidation & information processing. In short, sleep is a restorative function for the mind.
• Prioritize it like you would an exercise class.
2. Create a regular sleep schedule
Act in sync with your circadian rhythms.
• Set non-negotiable bed time hours. Aim to fall asleep soon after the sun goes down (depends where you are, but about 10pm). The anti-carcinogen and anti-oxidant melatonin as well as the human growth hormone, youth hormone, are secreted in their strongest doses between 10pm and 2am.
• Go to bed at a time that allows 8-10 hours sleep, means that you can wake up without setting an alarm clock.
• If you wish to have later evenings, then think about adopting a Mediterranean lifestyle where you have a mid-afternoon nap. At the very least keep the same bedtime each night.
• Set an alarm to go to bed.
3. Create the right environment
It is important to invest in and create a positive sleep environment that promotes restorative sleep.
• Set an environment that makes you look forward to get to bed (similar to 4 star hotel). Ensure that you have a great bed, quality mattress, quality sheet and calming sleep interiors.
• Declutter. Studies show that a tidy and more minimalist environment promotes better quality sleep.
• Make bed every day with effort so that it is cosy and welcoming each night.
• Change sheets regularly.
4. Have a positive wind-down routine
Create anchors associated with sleep.
• Consider anchors that help wind you down – No working after 9pm. Have a bath, have a herbal tea and meditate/ do some evening yoga. Then read a book.
• Dim lights from 9pm (Melatonin, the sleep hormone, is released in response to darkness).
• Set time in evening for meditation. Also consider a review of the day: ensure that you have cleared your mind of any negativity before winding down for bed.
5. Eliminate devices from the bedroom
Switch off devices from 9pm.
• Leave phone outside of bedroom at sleep-time. The phone omits short wave-length light that actually suppresses the release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. Sleep researcher, Charles Czeisler notes that this is also a concern because suppression of melatonin is an anti-cancer agent.
• Read from a book at night rather than a kindle. Looking at any device at night omits light that shifts our circadian rhythms to a later hour, making us more alert when reading instead of winding us down. This causes us to take longer to get to sleep and to feel not so rested in the morning.
6. Have some natural light between 6am and 8am (bonus points for exercise)
• Reset your biological clock by getting some sun in the morning/some form of daylight between the hours of 6am and 8am. By getting some sun-light when you wake up, you set your cortisol and melatonin to be at optimal levels for getting a good night sleep & falling asleep at the right time.
• Exercise in the morning benefits both the quality of sleep as well as the time it takes to fall asleep.
Inspiration – Changes in Sleep Duration, Quality, and Medication Use Are Prospectively Associated With Health and Well-being: Analysis of the UK Household Longitudinal Study
Researcher – Sleep, Volume 40, Issue 3, 1 March 2017, zsw079, https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/zsw079