How I Get Great Sleep

 Sleep. We all do it. Most of us do it badly.

After spending years of my life plagued with bad sleep - I finally decided to really research and experiment. The result was me distilling down a few key things that I can easily repeat to keep things simple.

This is such a common problem - and one I personally end up talking about a lot. I end up repeating everything here, so I am finally writing it down so I've a link to share ๐Ÿ˜Š

Before we begin...

  1. This post contains some affiliate links for products I am recommending. I actively use these and would recommend them anyway. The fact I may get a small kickback is bonus - not the goal.
  2. Some research says you need 8 hours sleep. I respectfully disagree as I've personally found 6h of great sleep to be all  I need. That being said, I'm not a doctor. Listen to yours and your body more than me.
  3.  I may not do ALL the steps every night. However, the ones marked ⭐ I do. If I am really tired, then I do the whole list as I know it's super effective!
  4. I've listed as a schedule - as "S(leep) - (Time)". A bit like a rocket launch, but it's taking you to Sleepytown and not the moon". Start from the top, work your way down - skip some steps if you want!
Without further ado - let's get into it!

Sundown - ๐Ÿ‘“ Blue Light Blocking Glasses On! ⭐

These yellow-tinted glasses help restore balance to your circadian rhythm - that is currently being messed up by artificial lighting in and around home. I live in the UK, so winter nights are long and dark, so I often put these on hours before bed.
I started with some super cheap ones from Amazon - then realising how effective they were, I got myself some Gunnar Gaming Glasses.

Points to note:
  • Apps / Computer settings to filter blue light are pointless if you've got your house lights on. The only way to be sure you're blocking it all is to wear glasses.
  • You can blue light blocking glasses on Amazon for about £20 - IMO, this is one of the cheapest and most accessible things to improve sleep.
  • It's worthwhile reducing the brightness of all lights, as well as wearing the glasses.
  • If you already wear glasses - I assume you'd need to look at getting prescription lenses made.

S - ~45mins / 1hour - ❄ Chilipad On! ⭐

This is essentially a mattress cooler (or warmer!) This helps regulate your temperature over night. For years (since my teens) I would consistantly wake up around 1-2AM too hot. The first night I used this - I slept like a baby all the way through. Game changer. I like my bed cold (like my heart) and set it to about 13' Celsius. Setting it about an hour before bed gives it plenty of time to get the bed cooler.

⚠ This product is expensive! I spent months deliberating over buying one. I absolutely will not go without one now. I've got the Chilipad - but there are similar products now.

S - ~30mins - ๐Ÿšฟ Clean up!

I like to "wash the day away" and grab a nice shower before bed.  While I shower every morning, this is more about relaxing than washing. Grab a soak in the tub if you prefer.

S - 10mins - ๐Ÿง  Empty the head! ⭐

Here I sit down and write down anything/everything that's in your head. Things you want to do tomorrow. Worries, concerns etc. Just get them out of your head.
I recommend pen and paper over app - something different happens in the brain. I keep a little reporter-style notepads next to my bed.

S - 5mins - ๐Ÿงด Topical magnesium

Magnesium improves your sleep. If I'm looking to really get a nice, deep sleep - then I'll rub topical magnesium all over before finally getting into bed. I find this to be really effective - but the product can be a little expensive to use daily, so I don't.
⚠ Some products of poorer quality can cause irritation - so buy a brands smallest bottle first and see how you get on.

S - 2mins - ๐Ÿ™‰ Earplugs in!

I get Hearos Ear plugs on Amazon Subscribe and Save. They effective, comfortable and never fall out.

S-0mins - ๐Ÿ“š Read for funsies! ⭐

I'm a self-improvement/tech junkie. For years non-fiction absolutely dominated my bookshelf/Kindle. This isn't a time for learning/growth - we're winding down and wanting to get sweet dreams. So read that book that helps with that. For me, it's Sci-Fi and dreaming of humanity amongst the stars. Whatever floats your boat - but you're trying to create nice imagery here, not a to-do list of new ideas for work.

At some point after this - I'll generally end up passing out asleep! ๐Ÿคค

๐Ÿ˜ณ Still struggling - ๐Ÿง˜‍♂️ Meditation!

Sometimes I do all the above, but still can't settle (normally because I've not actually emptied my brain enough, or I'm struggling to shake some thoughts).

Here's where simple meditation comes in. The thoughts keeping you awake are almost certainly fear/anxiety based (future) or guilt/regret (past). We have to get present to make them stop.

We don't need an overpriced app for this. Just breathe. Count the breaths... I personally count "in-1", "out-1", "in-2", "out-2" and so on. I find this helps focus my extremely erratic monkey-mind better ๐Ÿ’

I sometimes also do a body scan after every 10-count (and then start again).

I've rarely gone past 3 sets of 10 before my mind calms, and I am off to sleep.

BONUS: Naps!

I'm a big believer in power naps / napping in general. Amazes me how people feel it's acceptable to lose afternoons to fighting tiredness, when a 45min nap would sort them right out. So here's some quick tips on getting a good nap (I tend to want one around 2-3pm).
  • Add 10-15 mins on top of the time you want. It takes time for you to actually fall asleep! For example - if I want a 30 min nap - I set the alarm for 45mins.
  • For a power nap - consider a 'Nappuchino'. Down an espresso, have a 30min nap (alarm set for 45 mins, see above). Just as the caffeine is kicking in, you wake up! ๐Ÿš€
  • Consider a Bluetooth mask with headphones. These are great for a few reasons:
    • It's likely daytime - you need to block out the light.
    • If you roll on to your side, they don't hurt ears like earphones.
    • Playing the same track each time can have a Pavlovian effect - and get you to sleep faster.
  • Avoid napping on your bed - it's too easy to go deep.

I hope you find this useful and get some AMAZING sleep!


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