In this article we will talk about ten good sleep habits that might help you fall asleep fast and improve several aspects of your life.
Do you find it difficult to fall asleep fast or struggle to have a sound sleep all night long?
If yes, trust me, I’ve been there too. Being a freelancer, I had started taking sleep for granted, and the results were awful.
I was trying my best to be productive and form a work-life balance, but all my efforts were in complete vain.
I didn’t take it too seriously until one day when I started experiencing a lot of anxiety and stress.
How everything started
It started as a normal working day, but I was quite irritated since the morning. While working, I felt too burdened, experienced breathlessness, and started crying over nothing.
I assumed my sister would be the best person to discuss my situation, so I went up to her. Since she is a psychology student, she reads a lot about mental health issues and their solutions.
Besides, she’s always been my go-to person for any advise related to overcoming psychological issues.
As soon as I confided my concerns with her, she asked me how many hours I dedicate to sleep. I replied way too casually to this question, saying that I hardly keep track. I might have slept for around four and a half-hour the previous night.
And I told her that I’d been assigned a new project with a tight deadline, and it required more than my usual work hours. My mindless sleep-wake cycle concerned her.
Later, she shared a scientific study with me that was conducted by researchers at the Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Philadelphia and the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.
It concluded that troubled sleep significantly lowers productivity and deteriorates overall health.
At that moment, I realized that I must take charge of my situation and act more responsibly. My sister advised me to start working toward regulating my sleep cycle.
I decided to make some basic changes in my lifestyle to develop certain habits that would come in handy to sleep better.
I challenged myself to stick to those habits for 21 days. Thereafter, it became effortless for me to follow them.
Six weeks later…
After one and a half months, I’ve realized I’ve achieved a massive transformation in my mental state and productivity.
I also started working with two new clients and handled twice the work in a day than I was doing earlier.
So, here in this article, I’m going to share 10 such habits that helped me sleep better and become a better version of myself.
If you’re dealing with disturbed sleep patterns and want to get rid of them to start living your best life, keep reading further.
Before moving ahead, keep the following points in mind to get into these habits naturally to improve your sleep patterns.
- Every person’s lifestyle is different considering their profession, social and physical well-being. For instance, you might be a homemaker or a family person who has different commitments towards your house, kids, parents, etc. Don’t push yourself to replicate the exact habits shared below. Instead, add a personalized touch as per your time.
- Seek professional help if you can’t fall asleep due to excessive stress or have clinical sleep issues.
- You must understand that your tendency to be a night owl or an early bird depends on both your genes and your environment. You can’t expect to improve your sleep patterns overnight, but it’s feasible.
- Start with gradual changes in your sleep-wake cycle and be consistent for inculcating better sleep patterns.
Lastly, I’m not a professional neurologist or health expert.
This post is about my personal experience and how I improved my sleeping efficiency. It might help you too, and almost anyone can follow it. Here’s my personalized detailed guide describing 10 habits to sleep better.
How I started developing good sleep habits
I began with a lot of research to develop new habits that would help me improve my sleep cycle.
I went through multiple blogs, research papers, videos, TED talks, and attended sleep support groups. With so much information available on the internet, it became quite overwhelming.
Every day, I was receiving several notifications from new applications or websites to enhance my sleep cycle.
Initially, I felt that I was failing terribly to develop a well-established routine and better sleep patterns.
Eventually, I decided to make a personalized plan for myself. I tried to choose the most effective and research-backed habits. As a result, they helped me sleep better and faster.
1. Exposure to natural light
I didn’t remember the last time I spent a morning sun-basking before developing these habits. Due to my poor sleep patterns, I was waking up late, almost every day after 10 am. After one hour of waking up, I used to start working. It didn’t allow me to get much of the natural light.
Scientific studies have also concluded that exposure to sunlight improves sleep efficiency by up to 86%. It does so by regulating the biological clock and circadian rhythm. It also enables the body and mind to stay alert and productive throughout the day, confirms researchers.
When I understood its importance, I started spending at least half an hour every morning in the natural light.
2. Limit the consumption of caffeine or other similar beverages
Since my work demands long working hours with a lot of brainstorming sessions, I have to stay productive throughout the day.
I loved to have frequent coffee breaks during my work hours, besides having tea in the mornings and evenings.
My daily hours involved a lot of caffeine consumption. Researchers have confirmed that consuming caffeine even 6 hours before bedtime could interfere with sleep quality.
I started reducing my caffeine consumption from 3 cups of coffee and 2 cups of tea per day to two cups of coffee. I made sure not to have them in the late hours of the day.
3. Consume chamomile tea
Being a tea lover, withdrawing from tea consumption wasn’t easy for me. Here also, my research skills came in handy.
I found its alternative with the calming chamomile tea, which I included in my evenings.
In a 2019 study, the therapeutic benefits of chamomile tea have been established. I’ve found it helps improve my sleep efficiency.
I felt much calm and relaxed before bedtime within a week of starting my new chamomile tea nighttime routine.
Chamomile tea also enhances digestion, controls blood sugar levels, relieves anxiety, and improves cardiovascular health, confirms Brianna Elliott, RD to Healthline.
4. Avoid daytime naps
Taking naps during the day was one of the contributors affecting my sleep-wake cycle. I used to sleep for almost 2 hours right after having my lunch.
Little did I know that it would affect my sleep at night.
Dr. Wright, a Pathologist at Sleep Foundation, agrees that napping in the later hours of the day potentially disrupts nocturnal sleep cycle.
This information helped me take the required initiative to create my sleep debt during the daytime.
Now, if I feel an urge to sleep during the day, I keep my naps short, that too, before 2 pm. Taking a nap for about 20-30 minutes enhances productivity and imparts several other health benefits, confirms Dr. Wilson, Medical Advisor.
5. Avoid using gadgets at bed time
I stopped taking my phone to the bed to develop a better sleep routine. It has been a revolutionary step in my case.
I work all day-long on a computer screen that exposes me to plenty of blue light. I was doubling up my blue light exposure by mindlessly scrolling my phone late at night.
Blue light from digital devices interferes with the melatonin production and circadian rhythm of the body. It eventually disrupts the natural sleep-wake cycle, suggest experts.
Now, I’ve started using my phone away from bed and leaving it at least 2 hours before my sleep time.
Shifting to an actual alarm clock helped me wake up on time, without needing my phone to start my day.
6. Set up a bedtime routine
Once I used to sign off from my work, I never tried to plan my evenings or nighttime. This was also one of the reasons that hindered my sleep cycle.
I planned to set up a fixed nighttime routine and became more mindful of it to improve my sleep.
I prefer reading a book, practicing deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation lying down on my bed. It helps me calm down and relaxes my nerves. Experts also confirm that creating and sticking to a fixed bedtime routine serves as a precursor to inducing sound sleep.
7. Declutter your space
Due to being over-occupied with work, I couldn’t maintain my room well. I had accumulated so much clutter, a disorganized table, and a messy wardrobe without even realizing.
I wasn’t stressed about it consciously. But it came out to be one of the sleep-depriving factors.
Experts emphasize eliminating physical clutter from the bedroom to reap the rejuvenating benefits of sleeping. Keeping a bedroom disorganized develops a guilt trip and signals the brain of an incomplete task. It further causes stress and anxiety, and leaves an adverse effect even when you’re asleep.
8. Start journaling
According to Dr. Lloyd, the medical reviewer at Healthgrades, journaling is the best self-help therapy to overcome sleep issues. Going to bed worrying about incomplete tasks or future assignments develops anxiety. It delays the process of winding up and affects sleep patterns significantly.
A recent study has proved that writing about worries and making a to-do list helps sleep faster and better. I also practiced journaling before hitting the bed. Writing specifically about the next day’s tasks develops a problem-solving attitude, which further helps relieve sleep anxiety.
9. Develop a workout routine
Exercising for only 20 minutes also helped me balance my sleep-wake cycle. I started working out in the early hours of the day. I practiced yogic exercises like Surya Namaskar, heart-opening poses, etc.
They kept me energized and optimistic throughout the day. I also noticed experiencing better sleep within a few days.
Researchers have also observed positive effects of early morning exercises on sleep quality among all age groups. Exercises increase the serotonin secretion in the body, which helps elevates the mood.
It also keeps the biological clock on track and prevents insomnia and depression, confirms Psychiatrist Alex Dimitriu.
10. Consume herbal supplements
Several herbal supplements help develop better sleep at night. Among them, I preferred the Ginkgo biloba supplement before my bedtime.
It helped me develop better sleep. I also got rid of my midnight awakening patterns too.
It has been proved in a study that Ginko biloba extracts enhances sleep efficiency and continuity.
Benefits of developing good sleep habits
Besides improving sleep patterns, there are a few more benefits of developing these habits.
- It helped me develop a problem-solving attitude at work.
- It enabled me to become a morning person, which ultimately made me better at time management.
- I’ve started working out too. So, it helps improve my physical and mental health.
- Journaling for the next day’s to-do list has helped me overcome procrastination and relieved me from work overload.
- After developing these healthy habits, my social behaviors improved too. Now, I get enough time to spend with my family and friends. I make sure to make it a qualitative one.
- Decreased stress and work anxiety enabled me to meet the deadlines of all my projects.
- It helped me become a more secure and confident person at work.
Recommended read: How to Look Younger and Feel Incredibly Confident
Good sleep habits: my results
After following these habits for about 30 days, I’ve observed personal growth on various levels. I’ve become more productive, efficient, and stress-free.
My sleep patterns have improved immensely because I made them a priority.
I also wanted to keep the negative outcomes of poor sleeping patterns at bay which helped me keep moving ahead.
I realized that now I don’t even need an alarm clock to wake up in the morning. The physical clock I got helps me orient myself, but I usually wake up before it starts ringing.
My sleep cycle has come on track.
After following my bedtime routine, my brain naturally signals me to doze off. Every day I wake up energetic and full of enthusiasm. My work-life balance has also improved significantly.
All the above-mentioned habits are safe to be practiced by anyone.
Even if it seems challenging initially, keep reminding yourself that you can do it. Focus on the results that you’re bound to experience.
Start inculcating these habits to sleep better today to lead a more productive life.