A Year of New Habits: Sleep

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I’m a reader of the blog ZenHabits. The author of the site, Leo Baubatua, routinely gives the advice that to create new habits you need to focus on building them one at a time.

Yeah, yeah, I think, in my manic “I’ve got to completely fix my entire life, discover my life purpose and achieve it in the next month” phase. New habits one at a time? That could take, like, a year! I’ll just implement them all now.

This is followed by my “yay, I’m doing so great” phase which last approximately 1.5 days, followed by quickly slipping into old habits, followed immediately with wallowing in my “what the heezy am I doing with my life? I’m going nowhere, might as well watch K-pops on Netflix all day” phase. PS K-pops are awesome.

So I’m trying something different. I’ve decided to tackle one new habit for 21 days. And then move on to the next one. For one year. I haven’t listed them all out or anything, I’m just going to pick them as I go along.

I already started too. I just completed 21 days of the following habit: get at least 8 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period.

This gave me a little wiggle room in case I didn’t get enough sleep at night, so I could work some naps in and still meet my goal. How’d it go?

I didn’t achieve that every single night, but I did for the most part. My bedtime has gotten much earlier and I’ve started some new habits that help me relax and prepare for sleep.

And I think it’s paid off. When I get enough sleep I feel like excited for the day, the sunlight winking through my blackout curtains in the morning doesn’t seem as evil, I allow myself to drift off in the afternoon heat for a little siesta if I feel like it, and in general I feel more clear-minded and energetic.

 Here’re some ideas for getting a good night’s sleep.

  • Turn off the TV/Computer at least 2 hours before bedtime—the blue light simulates daylight and throws off your body’s natural rhythms.
  • Meditate before bed
  • Listen to a guided meditation aimed at helping you drift off (I use this one all the time: Divine Dreaming Meditation )
  • Make it dark– if you can see your own hand it’s too bright. Cover up lights on your electronics or turn them off and consider black out curtains.
  • Drink some calming hot tea
  • No sugar/caffeine before bed
  • Turn off any unnecessary lights in your house- let it get dark. Try candlelight instead- it’s much more magical and romantic anyway
  • Journal to reflect on your day/make a to-do list for tomorrow to allow your mind to relax
  • Take a shower/bath
  • Exercise during the day
  • Listen to some white noise as you fall asleep (fan, rain noise, white noise music tracks)
  • De-clutter your bedroom- make it simple and calm
  • Try putting a live mother-in-law tongue plant in your room- it releases oxygen at night
  • Put Eucalyptus essential oil drops on your pillow case to help clear you up if your sinuses are keeping you awake or try using a neti pot or sinus rinse
  • Go outside at night and look at the stars/moon for a couple minutes- help your body figure out that it’s nighttime since we have so many artificial lights
  • Spray your sheets/room with a Lavender Mist
  • Keep your house nice and cool (or whatever temperature you like)

Sweet Dreams!

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