This is part of my Blog Post Series: How To Thrive As An Adult
I’ve always envied people who sleep easily. Their brains must be cleaner, the floorboards of the skull well swept, all the little monsters closed up in a steamer trunk at the foot of the bed.
— David Benioff, City of Thieves
There are dozens of books written about how to improve your sleep. Maybe you’ve read one of them. Some of them are even good and useful, but they’re also long and boring. (Ironically, they’re the only thing that puts some insomniacs to sleep!)
A typical “sleep” book is 300 pages and takes about 6 hours to read. Who has time for that?
So I’ve come up with my own haphazard list of things that help me get a good night’s sleep. And here’s the best part: it’ll only take you three minutes to read!
Things I limit:
- Caffeine — Limit of two cans of Diet Mountain Dew per day.
- TV time — Gone are the days of staying up all night bingeing a whole season like I did with Jericho (2006). These days, I watch an episode or two each evening, but that’s the limit.
Things I say, No, to:
- Anxiety-inducing TV shows — It’s just not worth it.
- News & social media in the evening — Has something ridiculous happened in U.S. politics? It’ll have to wait until morning.
- Solving other peoples’ problems — Life became simpler, and I started sleeping better when I stopped making it my mission in life to solve others’ issues.
- Video games — I don’t even have a video game console. Games suck all my attention. More than once, I downloaded Candy Crush on my phone but deleted it, just days later, because it got out of hand. It’s a trap!
Things I say, Yes, to:
- Cool temperatures.
- A good mattress — It’s well worth it.
- Aerobic exercise — I ride an exercise bike.
- A knee pillow — Great for side-sleepers, like me.
- Up by 6:00 a.m. — I feel better, and sleep better when I’m up by 6:00. Even on weekends.
- Small dinners — Large meals disrupt my sleep. And eating less at night means I drink less water at night. No need to pee at 3:00.
- A variety of fruits & vegetables — They keep my microbiome healthy and happy, meet my nutritional needs, and inhibit inflammation.
Things I do during my night-time routine:
- Unwind — Work is stressful, and I need time to decompress.
- Prepare for the next day — My brain can relax when everything is packed and ready. Read about my process: How I “Look Forward And Reason Backward”.
- Dim the lights at about 9:00 p.m. — No screens. No bright lights. (They block melatonin production.)
- Stretching — Working at a desk, hunched over a laptop, is hard on my neck, shoulders, and back. Stretching relieves some of the tension.
- Reading — Takes my mind off things.
- Lights out by 10:00 p.m. — My goal is 9:30 p.m., but sometimes it doesn’t happen until 10:00 p.m.
So there you have it: the list of things I actually do to get a good night’s sleep. And they’ll help you too if you try them.
Be well, my friend.