2 hours prior to bed:
- No more eating.
- No more caffeine.
- No more alcohol.
- Wrap up all cardiovascular exercise.
- Verify your sleep watch is charged.
- Set up the coffee pot for auto-start the next morning.
1 hour prior to bed:
- Close all bedroom shades and blinds – preferably the blackout kind.
- Set the thermostat between 60°F and 67°F.
- Eliminate all sources of blue light.
- Shut off all electronic appliances – TV, computer, phones. Stop checking your emails!
- Have a comforting cup of tea (without caffeine) or warm milk.
- Stage a glass of water on your nightstand.
- If needed, set your alarm clock for seven to nine hours later.
- Break out a book and read a few pages.
Bedtime … try to keep it within 30 minutes of the same time every night, including weekends
- If you only wear one thing to bed, make it comfortable socks!
- If desired, turn on soothing background sounds.
- Turn out the lights … use an eye mask if necessary.
Awaken … seven to nine hours later (again +/- 30 minutes every day)
- Open the blinds to allow in the natural sunlight (if available).
- Do some deep breathing.
- Stretch a little in bed … touch your toes and hold; do a mild twist with bent knees to the right and hold, repeat with bent knees to the left and hold.
- Drink a big glass of water.
- Check your sleep statistics from your sleep watch. Look for trends such as amount of restful sleep, heart rate, heart rate dip and variability, etc.
- Before you get up and get going, take a moment to give a little thanks, say a little prayer, and commit to making it a great day.
Go get ‘em, tiger! Repeat daily.
For those of you thinking this seems a bit unrealistic, likely you have not established sleep as a proper priority. This is a way of life – a better way of life – for the many millions of people that do make sleep their priority!
Again, if it feels unrealistic – try imagining a way to make some bit of the above come true. You spend a third of your life sleeping so make doing it well the priority it deserves and make your sleep area one you look forward to every day. Baby steps of progress could well be the start of your journey toward a much healthier, future you.