I’ve always been the type to function fine on little sleep. Give me 4 hours and I’ll be alright. But that’s the thing, I’ll be ‘alright’. For years now I’ve been sleeping around 4-6 hours a night and thinking this was the best it could get.
Then I read a post from Healthline – 10 Reasons Why Good Sleep Is Important. And I realized that something had to be done. I needed to work on my sleep schedule. So, that’s what I’ve been doing the last month, and I’ve gone from an average of under 6 hours per night to 8 hours this week!
This is the average I had with my Fitbit Alta HR, which tracks my sleep and the quality of my sleep, the last three months. In February and the first half of March I got 4-6 hours of sleep every night.
After changing my schedule before bed time I now have an average of 7 hours per night. The average dropped for this month because of the first half, but the last half I’m closer to 8 hours per night!
What I did:
1. Set your time of going to bed half an hour earlier every 2 days
I realized quickly that if I was used to going to bed at 2 am, the chances of falling asleep at 11:30 pm was very slim. So I decided to set the times of going to bed back half an hour every 2 days. So by 10 days I went from 2 am to 11:30 pm.
2. Set a goal for when to wake up
Make sure that it’s a time that will give you the amount of rest you want. I wanted 8 hours of sleep so I made sure that I would wake up at 7:30-8 am since I wanted to go to bed at 11:30-12:00. Even if you don’t go to bed at your set time, make sure you wake up at your time so you’ll fall asleep as normal.
3. Cut the usual last cup of caffeine
I usually had a cup of coffee around 8 pm. I used to think that caffeine didn’t have a huge affect on me since I drink so much of it during the day. But it might have an affect even though you don’t notice it in energy levels. I’ve now switched the last cup of coffee with some caffeine-free tea, and it’s now a part of my evening routine.
4. Build a schedule
Usually I’d wash my face quickly, brush my teeth and lie in bed for about an hour with my phone before turning the lights off. Now I’ve come to realize that if I keep a proper schedule then my body and mind will know it’s time to wind down and get ready for sleep. Now I drink my night-time tea, carry out a set skin routine, brush my teeth and read for an hour with my phone on ‘do not disturb’.
I think the most important thing is to set your goals and try to stick with them the best you can. I’ve experienced huge differences in my energy levels and concentration after getting more sleep, and I’ll work hard to keep it as it is now.
Hope this can inspire some of you night owls to try to sleep a bit more and hopefully feel a bit better in your every days!