Fact #1: I need at least 7 hours’ sleep
- I have no trouble getting to sleep – it’s just staying asleep that I find a challenge.
- I can get by with 6 hours’ sleep.
- 8 hours is just fine.
- But anything above or below is problematic for me.
I know this because I frequently wake up after just 5 or 5 and a half hours’ sleep. And because I can’t get back to sleep, I never feel fully rested. Instead, I feel a little numb and not as sharp as I would like. And I also find that without the right amount of sleep, I am unable to tick off a good deal of my to-do list
If I sleep for more than 8 hours, I feel sluggish and regret having wasted a good part of the morning. Even on weekends. Even when I’m away on holiday.
Fact #2: I need to turn off all Tech
I read somewhere that making sure that you turn off your computer, tablet, phone and any other devices, at least 30 minutes before going to bed helps to ensure a decent night’s sleep. Apparently the blue light that these devices emit hinders sleep.
Working from home as I do, I am surrounded by technology. My desktop computer, my tablet and my mobile phone are always close by.
Turning off my computer is easy – I normally stop work at around 6pm – I just turn off my machine and close my office door.
But I belong to a reading group, and I used to be in the habit of taking my tablet to bed with me to read our current book before going to sleep. So I have started reading for up to half an hour each evening, and then turning the tablet off. And then I leave it downstairs, in the living room, each night.
With regards to my mobile phone, as well as using it for calls, I have a tendency to check my mail and some of my social media accounts. I also tend to use it as an alarm each morning which guarantees its position on my bedside table.
Well, now I also leave it downstairs with my tablet.
And we don’t have a TV in our bedroom!
Fact #3: I need regular exercise
This is no revelation to me, and I workout between four and five times a week. Fortunately this is a habit that I no longer have to think about. The received advice is to workout at least 3 hours before bedtime. My preferred exercise time is the morning.
Fact #4: I try not to eat late
This is easier said than done, but I do try to leave at least two hours between eating supper and going to bed. There is enough available research that advises against caffeine and alcohol before bed, but I reckon that I do need a treat once in a while (especially at the weekends and holidays!)
Fact #5: I organise my mind
I update my diary for the next day’s tasks so that I don’t have these thoughts going around my head while I’m trying to sleep!
This little act quietens my mind – and it’s such an easy thing to do. I normally tap things that come to mind straight into my tablet before I put it away each evening.
Fact #6: I have a bedtime routine
I rather suspect that this is the key element of my recent success. Nothing more to it but a routine!
- So hubby and I watch something on TV together – maybe a film or a favourite show (crime thrillers do it for me!) Conveniently this tends to happen at around 9pm. By this time we will have eaten supper.
- At 10pm we turn the TV off and I will read for 20 minutes before finally turning off my tablet.
- At 11pm, I will go upstairs to bed.
And because I work from home, having my alarm clock (not mobile phone) set for 7am SHOULD give me my 7 hours necessary.
So all I have to do is keep these six facts in mind and I will continue to sleep well every night (well, almost).