These last few weeks I have been working on forming a habit. It is getting into bed at a decent hour. I love getting up early in the mornings doing my yoga. Therefore, if I want my eight hours of sleep, I need to get in bed early as well.
Sounds a bit boring huh? There is some part of me that is rebelling up against this wanting to stay up at night watching Netflix instead… as if I still were a teenager.
I know that getting that habit in place would infuse a whole lot of joy into my life. And an increased quality of life.
Sleep is one of those habits that affect other habits. Just as eating healthy and exercising, a good sleeping habit spills over and improves other aspects of life. When we have slept enough we take better decisions, perform better and feel more relaxed and JOYFUL 😃 I can never say that word to many times.
Do you get enough sleep? Most of us need at least seven hours of sleep every night to be functioning. Heck, scientists compare the performance of a sleep-deprived person to the performance of a drunk one.
Eight hours is the recommendation. Many don’t feel well-rested until they have gotten nine hours. Especially in this time of year in the part of the world where I live since we only have daylight a few hours a day. If we folks wouldn’t have electricity and artificial light, we would probably sleep much more than we do now during the wintertime.
I find that when successful people get interviewed, they often get questions about their morning routine and how early they get out of bed. Many of them do get up really early. At least they say they do. But rarely do they get asked about when they go to bed at night. And how that routine looks like.
This getting out of bed early has been seen, also by me, as a productivity hack.
What I have learned about sleep from my life experience so far, is that I can motivate myself to get out of bed, early as hell actually. BUT. That does not make the days great just because of it. I NEED SLEEP.
I have thought, in the process of pulling myself out of bed early, that that would make me more sleepy the coming evening. That this short night would result in me getting into bed earlier for the coming night. That has not been the case.
Just the other day I read something that explained why that is. Sleep deprivation results in elevated stress-hormones, which not only makes us more stressed and overwhelmed, and less capable to actually do what we’ve set our selves out to do. It also makes it harder for us to fall asleep again next time. It gets like a downward going spiral with less and less sleep. I see now, that this is what I have experienced, several times.
If you’re in a similar situation I want to share how I now work with this habit of getting into bed at night. We’re all different but who knows, maybe you find something useful in this.
How I’m forming a habit of getting into bed at a decent hour 😴
- I plan my evenings ahead and try to see to it that I brush my teeth at a specific time, forty-five minutes before bedtime. I’ve noticed that brushing my teeth is the first thing that I do in my bedtime routine and that everything after that is pretty much on autopilot all the way until I lay in bed.
- I keep track of the times that I have managed to brush my teeth at that time as well as the times I’ve managed to hit the sack in time. I do that in a habit tracker. Habits that we keep track of gets strengthened by that.
- From now on I will set the alarm on my phone on the toothbrushing time. That will not only help me to remember to brush my teeth in time but also remind me to put my phone in the charger in the kitchen before I go into the bathroom. That way this is the last time I interact with a screen.
I have a regular oldfashioned alarm clock in my bedroom. If you don’t have one, my advice is, get one. Looking at a screen just before bedtime prevents us from falling asleep as easily.
- If I can’t fall asleep, my mental trainer gives the advice to have a notebook close by to be able to write down any thoughts that go around in my head. I also give myself permission to then fetch my phone to be able to listen to some relaxation soundtrack or guided meditation to help me get sleepy.
- I don’t get obsessed with falling asleep though. If I’m too alert, I get up again after having laid in bed for a while with the light off. I have faith that this will eventually sort itself out and I’ll get tired at this time. If I fall asleep late, I try to adjust the time I get up the following morning or see to it that I get a nap sometime during the day.
- I have a reward system in place. Since I keep track of the times I manage to brush my teeth at a specific time as well as getting into bed at a specific time, I give myself points for that. When I have reached a specific number of points, I get to give myself something that I have decided in advance related to sleep. Like a set of bedsheets, new pajamas, blinders for the windows or a pillow. Something that in itself will enhance the wish to perform this bedtime ritual.
What has worked for me, is to start small, not setting my bedtime that much earlier than when I am used to going to bed. And then gradually setting it earlier and earlier (like fifteen minutes earlier/day) until I’ve reached my optimal “go to sleep”-time.
I’ve learned all this about forming a habit from my mental trainer and I will tell you more about habits further on. But for now… I think it’s time for a nap. I get all sleepy talking about sleep 😀