Many of us underestimate the power and benefits of a good night’s sleep. Consistently going to sleep around 9-10pm will help your mood, concentration and memory. Establishing an excellent sleep hygiene will pay off in the short and long-run. But realistically speaking, we are too distracted by technology, social media, Netflix and cell phones. If you learn to become disciplined by cutting out technology at 9-10pm and training your mind to fall asleep, you will start to notice positive changes to your mental health.
The Importance of a Good Sleep Hygiene
Sleep is one of the most underutilized tools for mental performance. Especially in modern-day society, most of us seek ways to optimize our performance during the day. A lot of people rely on coffee, others seek amphetamines and designer drugs, and some work extremely hard while sacrificing quality sleep at night. Let’s not forget cigarettes; many smoke before activities to get that increased stimulation. What’s missing from this picture? Quality sleep. We’re pumping stimulants and hard work during daylight hours while sacrificing quality sleep during nighttime hours.
Sleep is extremely important for the brain to rest and recover and the body to rejuvenate itself. The brain consolidates memories during sleep and the body heals from stress and pain. With a good night’s sleep, your memory, concentration, alertness and mood can significantly improve. Even a few hours of sleep can make a huge difference! But you can’t just go to sleep early once a week and expect to see consistent changes. You have to make a good sleep hygiene a new habit in your life.
First things first: you must want to go to sleep early. If you don’t want it, it’s going to be very difficult for you to apply the sleep hygiene recommendations I’m about to share with you. Okay, so let’s say you want it, but how do you go about doing it? Right when you feel sleepy around 9pm or so, stop everything you’re doing, turn off the lights and go to bed. I’m serious! If you can capitalize on that sleepy moment by trying to fall asleep, it will be much easier to do so. You won’t even be aware of the time. If you’re willing to do this, then keep reading.
- Go to sleep early when you’re actually sleepy (9pm is the sweet spot)
- Turn off the lights (yes, that nightlight as well)
- No electronics! (I’m serious, no cell phones, iPads or television)
- Get out of bed if you can’t fall asleep within 30 minutes (go to the couch and read or just lay there for 15 minutes, then return to bed)
- Use your bed only for sleep and sex (no laying around just for fun – well I guess sex is fun but you get the point)
- Go to sleep at the same time and wake up at the same time (your brain doesn’t like change when it comes to sleep)
It might not be easy for you to incorporate the above recommendations, but if you keep practicing, it will eventually come to fruition.
Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)