My coworker, Juliette, explained that she and her husband made a plan to get to bed earlier this week. “We are useless if we don’t get to bed at a good time,” she laughed. She also explained to me that they are more likely to sleep better if they fall asleep at the same time, so it’s been a team effort for the two of them in improving their sleep. They have both found that making a commitment to be in bed, working on falling asleep, before 10:00 p.m. is a realistic deadline.
Many people wish they could go to sleep earlier, and they often make commitments to do so. However, it can be difficult to integrate a new routine into your lifestyle that will blossom into a habit. Fortunately there are some steps in which you can take to build healthy sleeping routines. Check out our suggestions to help you get you bed earlier and maintain your system:
- Set a bed time: Children are not the only ones who need a schedule, including a bed time. For a busy life, a bed time is a great way to give yourself the consistent energy you need to accomplish the things you wish to do. Make sure this bed time is reasonable. Everyone has a limited amount of 24 hours in a day, and there are always loads of things to do each night. Consider the time you have been falling asleep. Since you wish to go to bed earlier, start out by adjusting this time to 30 minutes earlier.
- Time your evening routine: How long does it take you to brush your teeth, take your medicine, wash your face, say your prayers, read a book, whatever it is you do before crawling into bed? It may take you 20 minutes to complete this routine. Not a problem, this just means that you need to calculate this time before your desired bedtime. For example, if you want to get to bed at 10:00 pm, but it takes you 30 minutes to get ready for sleep, then you need to start this process at 9:30. Setting a bed time, doesn’t mean that you say you are going to sleep by 10:00 when you still have a load of things to do.
- Set an alarm in the evening: Use whatever alarm is least obnoxious (or maybe you prefer a shrilling buzz). In any case, set a dependable alarm that includes the time it will take you to fulfill your routine before bed.
- Set a curfew for your electronics: If you like to unwind with TV or the latest Deadspin post on your smartphone, then do so at a limited time before bed. It may help you to get to bed earlier if you limit electronic use.
- Dim the backlight of your electronics: If you must use your phone for emails or you need to read on your tablet before bed, then it can be beneficial to dim the backlight. A bright backlight can affect your ability to fall sleep, especially if your eyes are exposed to it right before sleep. Using a dimmer light will not be as harsh on your eyes.
- Keep a notepad near your bed: This notepad can be used to jot down things on your mind. Use this scratch paper to unload your worries or build your to-do list for the next day. By writing these things down, you can free your mind and prepare your body to rest.
- Leave school and work behind: Grant yourself space from work and school. This means that you may have to finish homework and emails earlier. If possible, keep work and school separate from your bedroom. This will help your body to associate your bed with sleep and other private matters.
- Listen to your body: If you are dragging and feel yourself falling asleep earlier than expected, then listen to your body. Go to sleep when your body naturally needs to, even if you haven’t finished all that you need to do. Your body will thank you in the morning.
You may not be able to fall asleep early right away. This may take time to train your body into a new schedule. Before long, your body’s natural clock will start adjusting, and you will finally be able to get to bed at a decent hour.