Almost every piece of advice you will find about being more productive will point to waking up early. You've probably tried that, failed, felt terrible about it, and declared that you're just not a morning person.
But the thing is - you can be a morning person, and all you really need is a good sleep routine.
Real productivity doesn't start when the sun rises, it starts the night before. From the moment you tuck yourself in, set your alarm, and prepare for slumber, your sleep routine acts as your secret weapon for success.
It's an undisputed fact that the only way to wake up early is to sleep early. And while it sounds easy enough, the reality of clocking in recommended hours is difficult for most. We now know that 61% of people are getting worse sleep than ever.
Poor quality sleep was once accepted as a norm. But now, with physical and mental health under the spotlight, America’s sleep crisis is turning heads. It’s even been declared a public health epidemic by the CDC. The economic impact is also startling. Lack of sleep in the US workforce costs $411 billion annually.
As sleep expert and professor of neuroscience and psychology, Dr. Matthew Walker, puts it: Sleep is the elixir of life. While good health rests on the pillars of nutrition and exercise, both these pillars rest on the foundation of sleep.
Learning how to improve your sleep, and create a successful sleep routine at the same time, might seem a little daunting at first. But what you will quickly realize is that once you give your sleep routine some extra attention, creating more time for success becomes a breeze.
Why is a good sleep routine critical?
Sleep is a vital function of the body. While we sleep, the brain is hard at work supporting and regulating our physical and mental well-being. There is a long list of benefits that come with sleep. Better cognition, memory, immunity, energy, heart health, mood, digestion - it’s all linked to how well you sleep.
When you lose sleep, you accumulate a sleep debt that you can’t exactly make up for. What you can do is get more consistent with your sleep cycle. The best way to do that is to create a nighttime routine that is easy to stick to. All the steps you take to perfect your sleep routine will improve your sleep hygiene and improve your overall health and well-being.
The most crucial aspect of any excellent bedtime routine is going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day - even on weekends. After a little practice, you will be able to reach a point where you don’t need to hit snooze for an hour.
All the functions in your body work together. A good sleep routine binds all these actions and allows you to feel good and achieve everything you desire.
What happens when you don't sleep?
When you sleep well, you will feel great in the morning. You probably know what comes next. Bouts of poor sleeping behavior can lead to very poor health.
No matter what your goal for success is this year, if you are tired, frustrated, or struggling with your mental health - your journey towards success will be hindered.
When you don't sleep, you run the risk of falling victim to sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation can impact every aspect of your health, from your physical well-being to mental processing. Here a few of the most common outcomes of poor sleep:
- You forget things - A lackluster sleep routine can severely impact learning and memory consolidation. As a result, when you need to recall something important, it can be challenging to arrange your thoughts in a logical order.
- You experience weight gai - Even if you work out, sleep deprivation will sabotage your efforts to get in shape. A proper sleep routine will help regulate your metabolism, so you don’t feel overwhelming cravings.
- You get sick easily - Studies show that sleep deprivation makes the body less immune. The result? You'll always feel under the weather. During the sleep cycle, the brain regulates vital functions. So when you deprive your body of this downtime, your immunity takes a hit. But it’s not all so bleak. Even if you experience a period of poor quality sleep, tweaking your sleep routine can lead to some significant health and wellness gains.
How to improve sleep
Better sleep is easy to come by when you focus on improving it. Most people put a lot of time and energy into planning their day, so they are able to successfully conquer their goals.
When you inject some time into improving your sleep, you will notice drastic improvements in your energy levels, concentration, and productivity.
There are many factors that can impact the quality of your sleep. These include how many hours you sleep, what you eat, when you work out, and the time it takes to fall asleep. To improve your sleep quality, start by reviewing these five essential elements of a sound sleep routine:
- Ensure you have the best mattress - When you invest in the most comfortable mattress, you are making a great move towards improving your sleep. Over one-third of your life is spent lying in bed, which is why a quality mattress is a critical aspect of any sleep routine. For ultimate comfort, pressure relief, and body-adaptive support, a memory foam mattress or hybrid mattress will tick all your boxes.
- Slowly increase the length of your sleep - Leaping from 5 hours a night to 7 hours may take some time. If you want to increase the length of your sleep cycle, do it incrementally and not all at once. Going to sleep just 10 minutes earlier each night will help your body adjust to a new sleep schedule and allow you to improve your sleep in a sustainable way.
- Eat a healthy dinner - Rich foods before bed will impact digestion and may even increase heartburn and acid reflux, which are known sleep killers. Switch heavy foods to lunchtime and keep your dinner light, so you give your body enough time to digest before bed.
- Don’t work out just before bed - For some, the adrenaline rush post-workout activates the brain, making it hard to fall asleep. If this is you, exercise in the morning or at least 3 hours before it’s bedtime so you have enough time to wind down and feel sleepy.
- Reduce screen time before bed - Artificial light (blue light) from our devices can reduce the production of melatonin. So instead of making you sleepy, you’ll feel more awake. If you are someone who finds it difficult to fall asleep fast, don’t use your phone at least 30 minutes before it’s bedtime. For better results, wrap yourself in a weighted blanket. One of the best weighted blanket benefits is that the gentle pressure stimulation can lull you to sleep quickly.
How to get into a sleep routine
By now, you have enough knowledge under your belt about ways to improve your sleep and why it’s so important. The next step is to arrange good sleep habits into a routine that you can easily follow each day.
Repetition is considered one of the most important elements of success. If you look at the most successful athletes, business people, and artists, they all have one thing in common - they know that practice makes perfect.
Each person's sleep routine will vary based on their lifestyle and commitments. Creating a solid sleep routine may take some trial and error at first, but once you have found the best sleep routine, it will be a seamless addition to your overall success plan.
Some like to read before bed, while others prefer listening to sleep sounds or sleep meditation to calm the mind. Many people enjoy a healthy late-night snack, while others opt for a cup of chamomile tea. Find what works for you, stick to a schedule, and almost like magic, you will start experiencing the astounding benefits of improved sleep.
The process of improving your sleep routine can be incredibly empowering. When you enrich your health plan with better sleep, your journey toward success will be energetic and productive. If you have recently found new ways to improve your sleep routine, share your tips with us in the comment section below.
What is your sleeping routine? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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Disclaimer. We love sleep and we want you to get the best sleep possible. But we do not provide medical advice. This blog is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical info, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our blog.