We all need proper sleep to be productive on the busy days ahead of us. Many don’t think about how much a good night’s sleep can affect the way you work, focus, retain information, and even eat. According to the Sleep Foundation, adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each day, but almost half of us report we feel sleepy each day. I learned in quarantine in 2020 that I need to be productive during the day to get a good night’s sleep, and I need a good night’s sleep to be productive the following day. Sleep is just as important if not more important than how you function awake. Here are five tips to help set you up for a successful sleep schedule:
Don’t consume caffeine within six hours of your preferred bedtime.
As a college student I consume on average two cups of coffee a day not really thinking about how it affects me at night. I recently learned that consuming caffeine even six hours before you aim to sleep can affect your heart rate and ability to wind down. I’ve taught myself restraint to drink one cup of coffee before 2 p.m. each average day, unless I’m desperate to stay up late during finals. If you rely on caffeine to get through your day, try slowly training your body to consume less and six hours before you plan to go to bed. This tip can boost your physical health with less caffeine and deeper sleep.
Invest in your bedroom environment.
It’s important that you feel calm in your personal space; the bedroom is the most vital place for your mind to reflect on itself outside of sleep, so surround yourself with things that will send you into a gradual slumber. If your room doesn’t get enough natural light in the mornings, invest in a sunrise-simulation alarm clock that will gradually brighten. Waking up to gradual light will ensure you’re in a better mood rather than a startling sound on your cell phone. Something else you might find worth investing in is a weighted blanket. If you sleep alone the soft weight of the weighted blanket can help make you feel more secure and calm. I personally have been using a weighted blanket for almost two years, and I can say I toss and turn less and feel less anxious!
Try to sleep and wake up at consistent times.
Getting into a consistent routine during the day can be affected by the way you set yourself up for sleep. If you want to consistently be productive, you should have a time when you go to sleep and wake up each night and morning. This may be easier if you have an everyday job or class schedule, but on breaks or weekends things can change. Nobody has the perfect lifestyle, but find a general time to both sleep and wake up that works for you every day.
Find a sleepy-time hobby that calms you.
A lot of us rely on our phones and televisions for entertainment before bed, but these things force our brains into staying awake to analyze social media posts or our favorite shows. Keep a novel on your nightstand that you can pick up to let your eyes get heavy until they close. If you have too much on your mind, pick up a pen and start journaling so your thoughts can leave your rest space. Even if you have an extremely busy day and don’t have a lot of down time, just reading a book for ten minutes can get your mind off of your responsibilities and ready for rest.
Wear your favorite loungewear before bed.
Loungewear has become more fashionable over the past year, but it’s still good for getting in bed. If you don’t already have a go-to pair of sweatpants and sweatshirt, it’s so worth it to invest in a set. Habits has several sets of sweatpants and sweatshirts that could become your new favorites, such as the Superstar sweatshirt and sweatpants, and the "In the Clouds" set for warmer weather.
I hope after reading through these tips you can discover what gives you the best sleep you’ve had in a long time!