Before the invention of electric light, most people slept ten hours each night. Now with the rise of Netflix, iPhones, and late night television, most people are struggling to get the recommended eight. How often do you find yourself exhausted in the morning, wondering why you watched another episode or read an extra chapter? Here are some tips for getting a handle on bad sleep habits.
Compromise with yourself
Don’t go cold-turkey, strike a deal with yourself. You can have a half hour to read, for example, but that’s it—honor the agreement. Say, “I’ll read one more chapter, but then I have to start getting ready for bed.” Planning will make it easier to unplug from your favorite activity.
Talk yourself out of it
Can’t help but want to play the next episode? Think about why this is a bad choice and the ramifications of staying up another hour. Will you be overtired in the morning, tempted to sleep through your alarm? Visualize what will happen. You might be late for work and unable to concentrate.
Make tech work for you
Everyone knows that looking at bright screens before bedtime can make it difficult to power down and fall asleep, but some technology can help. Try listening to calming sounds like waves, rain, or your favorite low-key album. Also, try looking into sleep apps. Some help track sleep patterns, and others can point out long periods of restless sleep.
Get a sleep buddy
Enlist a friend who has the same problem to help keep you on track. A buddy system gives you added support and can make it more fun. Give her permission to call you out if she sees you online after your appointed bedtime. If she also experiences bad sleep habits, you can hold each other accountable.
Negotiate a quiet space
If you don’t live alone, it may be hard to get the peace needed for a relaxing night’s sleep. Communicate with your partner or roommate about your schedule and decide on ‘calm hours.’ This means no loud music or television, and also means that unless it’s an emergency, they can wait until morning to speak with you.
Wind down—your way!
Not everyone winds down the same way. For some people, reading before bed can be very relaxing, but for others it can be a stimulant. Find the activity that works best for you. It might be some light cleaning, writing, or learning a new craft—working with your hands can be very calming.
One of the best known herbal sleep aids, chamomile is a calming and tasty tea to drink before bedtime.
Another calming tea, this is also said to aid with indigestion and the common cold, which could be keeping you up.
This fragrant flower makes a delicious tea that may be beneficial for insomnia and anxiety.
Instead of buying bagged tea in the store look for these dried herbs sold in bulk. Try combining them to make your own preferred mix.