We all know that sleep is vital for us to function at our highest level, but sometimes a cocktail of late nights, too much technology, and poor sleep habits makes it harder than ever to achieve that all-important (yet often elusive) 8 hours.
Bright Side brings you 10 easy and practical steps that will make your mornings brighter, your days more productive, and your sleep truly restful.
An evening stroll is an absolutely perfect antidote to a mind that is still buzzing with the events of the day. Unplug your headphones, keep no particular pace, and enjoy taking in the sights and sounds as the gentle tread of your feet helps your brain transition from active to neutral.
When we travel a certain route every day, we do it almost without thinking. The same concept applies to bedtime: no matter how simple or complicated our routine (perhaps you need the pillows to be facing a certain way before lights off), our mind will come to know that these repeated actions signal sleep.
10. Get a routine
9. Choose the right sleeping position
If you are a side-sleeper, try to sleep on your left side, not your right — it will improve your digestion and blood flow. Sleeping on your back may cause problems with snoring since gravity pulls your tongue to the back of your throat. It isn’t recommended for people who suffer from sleep apnea. Sleeping on your stomach is not the best idea and is widely regarded as the worst sleeping position. It flattens the natural curve of the spine, which can lead to lower back pain. Sleeping all night with your head turned to one side also strains your neck. If this is your preferred position, try using pillows to gradually train your body to sleep on one side
Not everyone can afford their very own performance coach. But with this technique, we can all benefit from their approach to success. Before going to bed, write down your 3 core priorities for the day ahead. Even if you know you have at least 15 tasks on your to-do list, focusing your mind will give you an instant access pass to the productivity zone the next morning.
8. Be your own productivity guru
Mindful meditation is having its moment right now, but if you’re not sure how to go about it, here is a super quick beginner’s introduction to get you started:
Take slow, deep breaths — in through your nose and out through your mouth. Various thoughts will pop up to say hello — acknowledge them, then let them go. Be aware of each part of your body in turn — from the top of your head to the tip of your toes, tensing and relaxing each one in turn until you feel completely at ease.
Who springs to mind when you hear the word ’success’? Barack Obama? Bill Gates? Ariana Huffington? Ok, so the life of your dreams might be more modestly ambitious than President of the USA (or it might not, who knows?), but the one thing these individuals have in common, other than the dizzying heights of professional success, is that they read before they go to bed. The mental process required to shift our minds from daily concerns to character concerns is a key component of switching off.
We’re all guilty of sneakily checking our social media accounts and emails before bed — but trust us, it’s a terrible habit. The artificial light emitted disrupts the chemicals in our brain that promotes sleep, so be strict with yourself and impose a ‘no screen time before bed’ rule — you’ll thank us when you’re realizing your goals, day after day.
5. Unplug and unwind
You might feel a bit silly at first, but whether it is I let go of today’s worries and trust that tomorrow brings success and joy or You are a neat guy*, repeating a positive mantra in front of the mirror can be a powerful way of subconsciously influencing your mind whilst asleep.
*spot the Friends reference.
Even if you religiously follow the above steps and get the best night’s sleep of your life, it will be wasted if you are still rushing around in the morning looking for a clean shirt or your car keys. Get everything ready the night before, leaving you free to jump out of bed with joy, knowing you need only eat, shower, and GO!
4. Use affirmations
3. Get prepared for the morning routine
Success and positive thinking go hand in hand, so the fact that going to bed after midnight has been linked to repeated negative thinking patterns means late nights are a no-go if you want to raise the bar on your dreams.
We collect hundreds (if not thousands) of thoughts during the course of a day: worries and successes, from the life-changing to the entirely insignificant. Recording the challenges and highlights of your day in a journal is not only therapeutic but also helps to free up space for even bigger and better ideas tomorrow.