“Sleep is the source of all health and energy.” – Arthur Schopenhauer
Have you ever asked yourself – How can I sleep better?
A good night’s sleep is some of the best medicine available while a lack of sleep could be slowly killing us. The right amount of sleep leads to more energy, helps you handle stress and improves overall well-being.
A good night’s sleep increases productivity, improves decision making and allows your body time to heal, recharge and restore itself.
Sleeping better really does impact everything that we do. It is a key pillar in maintaining a healthy mind and productive life.
The importance you place on better sleep really can determine your success in business and life.
How you prioritise sleep and get better sleep can determine who you will become.
Getting the right amount of sleep can determine whether you can take your business and life to another level.
The clarity, focus, creativity and energy you get from a good night’s sleep can be the difference between a happy, healthy life and one full of low energy and illness.
How much quality sleep you get determines your level of performance every single day.
So, why is it that sleep has been de-prioritised by so many of us?
If you’re getting less than 7 hours sleep a night, according to the World Health Organisation, you are likely part of a ‘sleep loss epidemic’ with two thirds of adults in developed nations not getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep a night.
In its simplest terms, those of us who have the capacity to have a good night’s sleep simply aren’t sleeping enough.
In the US, 35% of adults are not getting 8 hours of sleep every night. In Canada it is 30% and in the UK it is 37%. In Japan, the average time spent asleep is just 6 hours and 22 minutes.
So, why aren’t we sleeping as much as we could? For many of us, our commutes and work hours are longer. There is even less of a ‘cut off time’ now when work stops and life begins.
If we arrive home late from work we still want to have time to spend with our loves ones, nurture friendships and just enjoy ourselves. Our modern culture of being ‘always on’ doesn’t help as sleep gets pushed further and further down our priority list.
For some of us, there is also a negative connotation with sleep. We become martyrs to working longer hours, getting more done. We wear this ‘hustle’ and surviving on limited sleep as a badge of honour.
But this has to change. For the good of our health, sanity, our family and our peace of mind.
Global policy think-tank, RAND corporation, concluded last year that insufficient sleep was a ‘public health problem, costing the global economy billions in lost productivity each year. Millions of people are searching hot to get better sleep and improve their sleep.
In the National Sleep Foundation’s 2018 Sleep in America Poll only 10% of respondents prioritised sleep, with fitness/nutrition and work being seen as a much higher priority.
According to Matthew Walker, a British neuroscientist and Director of the Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley “Getting insufficient sleep is a two-way street’ anxiety is both a big contributor to disorders like insomnia but also sleep deprivation itself markedly raises your risk of development of anxiety and depression.”
Anxiety and worry are also effecting our sleep. In a Global Sleep Survey from Philips conducted with adults from 13 countries, 58% of responders claimed worrying was the top offender of disrupted sleep and financial and economic issues topped the ‘worryometer’.
So, what can we do to get better sleep? When you use the power of sleep to upgrade yourself intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually, you’re able to see the world from a more elevated space.
You have the confidence and empowered to deal with the difficult and challenging emotions required for growth and evolution. You are more readily available to learn how to work with people, solve problems and be more creative.
Whilst many of us understand the sense of urgency to focus on sleep, we don’t actually know what to do to make it better. We don’t have the confidence to make the necessary changes to improve our sleep.
So, here are 10 strategies you can use right now to start getting a better night’s sleep.
They helped me move from fitful, irregular sleep patterns to creating and prioritising a sleep ritual that helped me get more focused, boosted my energy and health, increased my productivity and ensured I carved out the time to spend with the people that mattered most.
1. Prioritise Your Sleep
Once I started being intentional about having a good night’s sleep and prioritising it everything changed.
There are so many other things that compete for your time. Your work, your family, your friends, staying connected, staying fit, entertainment.
Sleep can often drop further and further down your list of priorities.
But, if you can personally commit to getting 8 hours of sleep a night and making sleep as important as your other priorities you will notice a dramatic shift in your clarity, energy, focus and creativity.
Start today. Commit to getting 8 hours sleep for the next 7 days and see the difference it makes. Chances are you will want to continue to make sleep a priority.
2. Remove The Technology
So many of us struggle to switch off from our smart phones or tablets before going to sleep.
Many of us keep our phone on a bedside table or at least in the bedroom. We check for notifications or respond to emails rather than just unplugging and winding down before sleep.
If it’s not smart phones many of us have a television in our room and we are catching up on the latest Netflix series before we switch off the light and go to sleep.
Wakefulness is often triggered by blue light that emanates from a computer or smartphone screen which can affect the rhythm of your sleep.
Try this. Leave your smart phone or tablet in another room when you go to sleep. Decide on a time to stop emailing and being on social media before you go to sleep.
3. Create a Sleep Routine
One of the simplest ways to ensure you get your 8 hours of sleep every night is to create a sleep routine.
Ideally this would be having a specific time to go to sleep but that’s not always possible as we may have nights out planned, or specific work commitments.
Instead commit to a time when you are going to rise in the morning and work back to get your 8 hours or 7 hours on occasion.
If you follow a morning routine that has you rising at 5am you know the ideal would be going to sleep at 9 or 10.
Be consistent with having a specific wake up time for 14 days and see the impact it creates in your life.
You may have the bonus of being able to sleep later at the week-end but that shouldn’t affect you getting your ideal sleep during the week.
4. Wind Down Your Day Slowly
When you have lots of things on your mind or your energy levels are high after being out or watching a film, or coming back from a meeting it can be difficult to naturally ‘come down’ before sleep.
If your mind is racing it takes much longer to fall asleep, impacting on your sleep routine.
So, take 45 minutes, or 30 minutes at a stretch to just calm the mind and body before getting into bed.
To help you decompress try drinking hot tea with honey, journaling or meditating. Slow everything down to give yourself the best chance of a great night’s sleep.
If that doesn’t work pick up a book and read for 15 minutes before sleep.
5. Be Intentional When To Stop Working
There can be a blurred line between when work stops and ‘home life’ begins.
For many of us we don’t step through the door in the evening until 7 or 8. We may have additional work to complete or emails to send. We want to spend time with the people that matter most but the challenge is fitting it all in
I’ve written previously about creating an effective work life balance which you can find here
The best course of action is to give yourself a specific time to stop working. If you decide that time is 8pm stick to it and don’t answer any emails or do additional work.
If you’re lying in bed working or worrying about a specific piece of work you thing you should be doing, then this will massively effect your ability to get 8 hours sleep.
6. Create Your Optimal Sleep Environment
Make going to sleep an experience that you really look forward to, rather than something you have to do.
Investing in a new mattress will help you sleep better than a 10-year old mattress but there are some other simple, practical steps you can take.
Adjust the temperature in your room or have lighter/heavier duvets so you’re not waking up in the night being too hot or cold.
Have crisp, clean sheets on the bed. Burn some candles and dim the lights before going to sleep as you wind down.
Many of us have a playlist for working out or running. Create a sleep playlist of relaxing, soothing music that will help calm the mind before sleep.
Think of a time or place when you were most relaxed and think about how you can create that environment in your bedroom. Create that sleep experience.
7. Declutter Your Mind
To create the perfect harmony of mind and body before you go to sleep try taking everything that’s running around your mind and get it down on paper.
Journaling before sleep is a great tool to clear your mind and get your thoughts and ideas down on paper.
Try sitting for 15 minutes and just write. Write down your worries, goals and thoughts. Clear your internal inbox so to speak. Quiet down that internal chatter so you are in the right frame of mind to experience a deep sleep.
8. Express Gratitude Before You Turn Off The Light
Give yourself 5 minutes before you go to sleep to give thanks for the day. Whatever has happened or you’ve achieved during the day, step back, reflect on it and be grateful.
Giving thanks will help ensure that you don’t fall asleep worrying. You will be positive, thankful and tranquil rather than have a negative, worried mind.
Try this. Choose a minimum of 3 things to be grateful for every night and spend a calm 5 minutes reflecting on why you’re grateful for them.
To take this one step further. Focus you mind on one thing you want to achieve and let your subconscious work on it whilst you sleep.
9. Plan Your Next Day
There is so much evidence of the benefits of creating a morning routine and examples on how to do it.
But what if you could multiply that benefit? Try this. Spend 15-20 minutes in the hour before you go to sleep planning out the next day.
Be clear on the specific things you want to achieve. Be specific about what the Number One thing is you want to focus on.
Tie this tool in with showing gratitude and you will set yourself up for a great sleep.
10. Avoid Caffeine After 1pm
The World Sleep Society suggests avoiding caffeine six hours or more before you go to sleep. Personally, I don’t drink or eat anything with caffeine in after 1pm.
Caffeine consumed 6 hours before bed can affect the amount of sleep you get by over an hour.
So, enjoy your coffee but be clear when you should have your last cup of the day.
Making time for a full night of sleep and setting the stage for quality sleep is the secret to accomplishing more during the day.
The human body needs its rest; it needs to replenish.
This may seem impossible, especially for those who struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep, but to me sleep is one of the most important parts of my work routine.
The strategies I’ve laid out not only hasn’t affected what I produce, in fact they have contributed crucially to my best work and have made me happier, healthier and more creative.
Give them a try and let me know how you get on.
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About The Author
Mark Pettit helps successful entrepreneurs grow their business in 90 Days by helping them expand their freedom, work less, make more money and achieve their best results ever.