“I’ll sleep when I die.”
Say what? You’ll sleep when you die? How are you supposed to sleep when you die? I’ve never understood this statement.
Did you know that the first five hours of sleep, especially between 10 p.m. to 3 a.m., is the most beneficial time?
Your body and mind crave sleep. This is when hormones get released to kick start the recovery process. Your muscles, joints, organs, brain, memory, and so much more are rebuilt, strengthened, and realigned.
To live a happy, healthy, and productive life, you need to get at least seven and a half hours of sleep a night. Your body goes through 90-minute sleep cycles, and each has a purpose.
When sleep is interrupted, such as going to the bathroom or from a sudden noise, it is obviously not ideal. You need real sleep. You lie down, eyelids close, and wake up when it’s time to get up in the morning.
These days, people have a hard time getting to bed. There is too much to think about. Did this person like my Instagram post? Did I forget to send that email? Oh no! I forgot to tweet back to so and so.
Your mind is running a constant marathon, worried that you didn’t get to everything in the short day.
Well, let me tell you a secret; if you don’t sleep, you’ll continue to forget things, you’ll continue to feel tired, dizzy, and unable to attack the day with the energy and focus you desire!
Turning your mind off, giving yourself a mini break each day is essential for survival, it’s vital for your sanity.
The word “routine” is critical when it comes to sleep; specifically, a nighttime routine. This is something I’ve honed in on for years, trying new ideas until I had a fool-proof system.
Let’s set an example for a 10 pm bedtime:
Start by eliminating all electronics at 8:30 pm: no phone, TV, computer, or anything that can stimulate your senses. Try to avoid bright lights and dim them if possible. This allows your brain to send signals to release melatonin, your body’s natural kick-starter for sleep.
Bright lights, especially blue lights from electronics such as an iPad, can confuse your brain into thinking it’s still daytime as your mind will continue to tell your body to produce cortisol.
Cortisol is released when you wake up; it keeps your body moving during the day and gives you the energy needed for daily life. I bet a lot of you didn’t know that, huh?
People get scared of this word, but it’s actually an essential hormone. Yes, cortisol creates inflammation, but this is only when it’s continuously produced. Bright lights, especially during late times, will continue this issue.
Now, between 8:30–9:00 pm, work on personal hygiene and bathroom experiences. Take your time and stay relaxed. Know that this is when you brush your teeth, wash your face, use lotion, and do whatever else you do each night.
At 9:00 pm, it’s time to get your mind ready for sleep, and this begins with meditation. Meditation has been a massive benefit for me. I’ve been known to lay in bed, staring at the ceiling for hours as my mind races!
Meditation helps get your mind in the right space to obtain the calmness and relaxation you need to get deep sleep. Plus, it has many added benefits when it comes to inflammation, stress, and focus.
I use an app called Headspace. The Sleep Pack is incredible and gives you a guided meditation that helps lead you to the right mind space for sleep.
Read a Book
Next, with the lights off, read a book using a reading light or an electronic reader. I know these are electronics, but as long as the brightness is dimmed as far as possible, you’ll be okay. I personally use an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite.
Make sure the blue light blocker is turned on if you’re using an iPad.
I love reading about personal health, fitness, mindset, and anything that will help me achieve a happier, healthier life. Be careful, though, as some books can get your heart racing with thrilling stories and heightened emotions! If so, I’d choose something more calming and informative.
Some people have success with journaling during these times, but for me, reading a book is the best way for me to unwind and relax.
Other options are talking to a loved one or spouse, more meditation, a relaxing moderately warm bath, or feel free to create your own calming activity.
Before you know it, you will start to doze off. When that happens, you turn off the electronic reader or put down the book and turn off the reading light. Set it aside and let yourself melt into your bed.
Before you know it, you’ll be asleep!
As you follow this plan, you’ll notice that you will start to create a routine for your body and mind. This will become easier and, at some point, you won’t even need an alarm clock. It will just come naturally.
Human bodies love structure and repetition. A solid diet, restful sleep, and proper supplementation will give you everything you need for maximum performance!Stay tuned for Part 2