7 habits for a perfect night’s sleep

7 habits for a perfect night’s sleep

So I’m guessing you’re here because you’re looking to form new habits for a perfect night’s sleep.

You’ve tried everything you can think of but you just can’t switch off.

I’ve been there too.

There’s nothing worse than being unable to sleep, having millions of thoughts racing through your head.*

It leaves you feeling miserable and depleted of the energy you need to live your life.

I’ve suffered from insomnia myself.

I spent years experimenting with every tip, trick, strategy, technique and theory I could find.

After lots of trial and error alongside the mixing and matching of techniques, I’ve obliterated insomnia from my life.

Now I’ve put together 7 habits for a perfect night’s sleep.

*Apart from slow wifi.

 

 

Sleep can be your best friend or your worst enemy. It has its own rules and you need to learn to play by them.

Sounds drastic, but it really is a matter of life and death.

Sleep deprivation can lead to medical problems such as Alzheimers disease, high blood pressure, heart disease, and strokes.

To avoid increasing your risk of such health issues, it’s essential that you get into a healthy sleep cycle.

Lack of sleep can also have a negative effect on your relationships. I’m sure we’ve all been grouchy towards our friends, partners, and family due to feeling tired, right?

 

Don’t worry. If you follow these tips you will soon fall asleep quickly and notice a huge improvement in your life. 🙂

 

 

1. Filter out the blue light on your technology so your brain knows it’s night time.

image of a smart phone from 7 habits for a perfect night's sleep

Your first of the 7 habits for a perfect night’s sleep is based on a recent consumer report from the Bank of America reveals nearly three-quarters of us sleep with our phones beside the bed.

By using devices like phones, tablets and laptops you will struggle to fall asleep quickly, you are telling your brain to stay awake.

The artificial blue light from the devices trick our brain into thinking it’s experiencing daylight. This causes our body clock, the circadian rhythm, to become disjointed.

As a result, we produce less of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin helps control our sleep and wake cycles. We feel awake when we should feel tired.

Action Points:

  • Stop using technology 2 hours before going to bed

Or

  • Filter the blue light from your gadgets. There are a number of useful free Apps you can such asTwilight for Android Phones and F.lux for PCs.

 

 

2. Practice mindfulness meditation to calm your mind before you sleep.

image of stones balanced together from 7 habits for a perfect night's sleep

“Mindfulness meditation helps you break the train of your everyday thoughts to evoke the relaxation response”. – Dr. Herbert Benson founder of the Mind & Body Medical Institute in Boston.

One of the first scientists to test the benefits of meditation and mindfulness using brain scans was Sara Lazar. (A neuroscientist at Harvard Medical School).

She took a group of people through an eight-week mindfulness– based stress reduction program. After completing the programme Sara found there were decreases in brain cell volume in the amygdala. This is responsible for fear, anxiety and stress.

Mindfulness meditation is an often overlooked tool in learning new habits for a perfect night’s sleep.

Action point:

  • If you want to master how to fall asleep quickly. Practise mindfulness meditation at least an hour before bed. For 15 – 30 minutes.

 

 

3. Exercise in the evening and sleep better at night.

image of a woman jogging

study in 2004 showed aerobic exercises, (jogging, yoga, cycling, walking and dancing) can reduce anxiety by increasing blood circulation to the brain and by an influence on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and on the physiologic reactivity to stress.

However, the stimulation of exercise combined with rises in body temperature will initially keep you alert.

This is why it’s important not to exercise immediately before going to bed.

Action Points:

  • Exercise (at least one hour before bed).

 

4. Read before bed and prepare the mind for sleep.

Image of a book from 7 habits for a perfect night's sleep

 

The University of Sussex published a study showing that reading for six minutes before bed can reduce stress by 68 percent. It can prepare the mind and relax the body for sleep. This is my favourite of the 7 habits for a perfect night’s sleep and something I do every night.

Action Points:

  • Read before bed. Even as little as 15 minutes would be beneficial.
  • If you’re reading from an E-Reader other than the Kindle Paperwhite. The screen will likely contain blue light. This can keep you awake, so make sure you filter that out.

 

5. Being self-compassionate will help you sleep.

heart image

 

It’s not until our head hits the pillow that most of us begin to reflect on life.

If we’re not in a positive frame of mind our heart rate increases along with a flood of adrenaline.

We can become anxious and unable to sleep. I’ve been there and it’s not fun.

This would be useful if we were still sleeping in the wild fearing predators.

But, being as most of us aren’t, it’s worth looking at ways of calming our mind.

Tony Robbins believes our present state is often dictated by the types of questions we ask ourselves:

“Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers”. 

A recent study led by Dr. Nancy Digdon found writing in a gratitude journal for 15 minutes each night helped participants feel less anxious at bedtime. It also helped them to sleep longer and more soundly.

Most of us would likely struggle to find the time for 15 minutes of journal writing each night.

Let’s look at combining both ideas and simplifying:

Action Point:

As you lie in bed ask yourself the following questions and no matter how much resistance you feel, force yourself to answer positively:

  • What five things am I grateful for in my life right now?
  • What have I enjoyed most about today?
  • What are five things I’m looking forward to in my life right now?

The answer to the latter can be as small as “I’m looking forward to watching Game of Thrones”. To “I’m excited to be getting a promotion soon”.

As long as it induces feelings of positivity you’re on your way to calming anxiety and mastering new habits for a perfect night’s sleep.

 

6. Stop the caffeine by mid-day and you will sleep easier.

coffee

I was toying with whether or not to include this one as one of the 7 habits for a perfect night’s sleep. Most of us have probably heard it when trying to discover how to fall asleep quickly. But it’s an important point.

Coffee is a stimulant and produces adrenaline which will keep us awake. It can also contribute towards feelings of anxiety & stays in your system for up to six hours.

Some folks will tell you to cut out coffee altogether, but it doesn’t need to be that drastic. Coffee has certainly not left my life. We just have to be more mindful of when we’re drinking it.

We all have an internal clock called the circadian rhythm. This regulates many processes throughout our body including how tired we are.

It also controls the release of a hormone called cortisol which is related to your level of alertness during the day.

High levels of the hormone are released in the first hour you awaken (typically between 8am & 9am).

Drinking caffeine early in the morning diminishes the quality of the hormones effect.

Action Points:

  • Drink your first cup of coffee at least one hour after waking. (If you awaken between 8 & 9 am). If you don’t wake up at this time, carry on as you were.
  • Don’t drink any caffeine, (coke, tea, coffee, even caffeinated green tea) fewer than 6 hours before attempting to go to sleep. If this feels like it might be a struggle, try switching to decaf in the afternoons. Or gradually reduce your coffee intake slowly over a couple of weeks.

 

7. Increase your magnesium intake – One of the best habits for a perfect night’s sleep.

salad

A high magnesium diet has been found to help with disruptive sleep by reducing the amount of cortisol released during stress and anxiety. That’s right! Your diet impacts your mood.

A study done by the Human Nutrition Research Centre in North Dakota discovered Magnesium deficiency is known to cause insomnia.

In particular waking up repeatedly throughout the night. The study was titled “Effects of trace element nutrition on sleep patterns in adult women”.

Action Points:

  • Add more foods that are rich in magnesium into your diet e.g. nuts, black beans, brown rice and green vegetables.

 

CONCLUSION:

You’ve suffered from this long enough.

What we need to do now is take action on every single one of these habits for a perfect night’s sleep.

Do not be discouraged if you struggle or if you falter. Today is about building new habits and I guarantee you if you make the commitment to make changes, your life will be so much better.

So, here’s what I’d like you to do next

  1. Download a FREE one page PDF cheat sheet showing you how a few short ideas based on CBT to help you get to sleep RIGHT NOW.

Print it out and never worry about what to do when you can’t sleep. This will be your go-to guide for you to always have on hand.

2. I’d like to ask a favour, share this article with your friends using the button below to help spread these ideas. Also leave a comment below to let us know if they have helped you.

 

Sleep well. 🙂

Ian

 

Ian Jordan

30 year old human male from the United Kingdom, I’m a self help author and former insomniac.

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