Have you ever asked someone who sleeps well what they do to get to sleep? Were they able to tell you? One thing that people who can go to sleep and stay asleep all night know is that they don’t know how they do it.
Most people who sleep well don’t use anything to help them get to sleep. No pillow sprays, no music or sound effects playing, no elaborate bedtime routine, no special gadgets, or sleep trackers. Nothing. What they do is live in a way that aids their sleep, BUT they may not realise that this helps them sleep well. Many people don’t associate how they live during their waking hours with how they sleep.
Getting hung on up sleep and details around it is one sure-fire way to ensure you don’t sleep, so here are three secrets to getting a good night’s sleep.
Don’t become reliant on anything for a good night’s sleep
Short term solutions can sometimes become long term reliance. And I don’t just mean sleeping pills, whether prescribed or over the counter. This can be anything. Having to use a specific pillow, having to do several things in the hour leading up to bedtime, wearing a specific type of pyjamas, using a particular gadget. All of these things can help you sleep better and can help short term, but if you find that you need to have them to sleep, then that’s not a good thing. If you need to take all your sleep items with you when you sleep away from home or if you can’t sleep unless you have certain things in place, that’s when you know you’ve become reliant on them.
Never stop taking any medication for sleeping, whether prescribed or over the counter, without talking to the professional that prescribed them to you or your GP first.
If you use other things to be able to sleep, you could either wean yourself off using them bit by bit or go cold turkey. You may find that you have some nights where you can’t sleep or you don’t sleep well to start with but long term, things can get better. Reading The Sleep Book by Dr. Guy Meadows before you do anything is a great place to start!
Don’t think about sleeping think about how you live as a whole
Sleep is one part of our lives. How we live influences our sleep and how we sleep impacts our waking hours. Focusing just on our sleep and how well we do it or not, doesn’t help us to sleep well. Focusing on how we live as a whole to sleep well allows us to shift the focus and also the pressure we can put on ourselves to sleep well.
Sleep isn’t like exercise or food. The more we try to exercise and eat well, the better we get at it and the more we do it. Sleep is the opposite. The more we think about sleep and the more we try to do it well, the less likely it is that we’re able to. Sleep can be affected by many different medical conditions or problems, but when we’re physically well it’s our minds that stop us from sleeping. And thinking about sleeping well is one way to ensure you don’t sleep well.
Stick to a routine and turn it on its head
Keeping a morning and evening routine is an excellent foundation for sleeping well. Getting up at the same time and going to bed at the same time as many times each week as possible allows your body to set its internal clock and helps you sleep better.
Instead of thinking about a routine for sleeping well, which we can end up becoming reliant on (see point one!), keeping a routine that allows us to be more energised and productive are the best routines. Being able to smash that presentation or workout or come up with and implement the best ideas for our business are all better things to focus on than sleeping well. Keeping a morning and evening routine is the key to smashing those too.
There’s no doubt that sleep is important and it needs to be a priority to function well. More and more research tells us so. But sometimes the more we know, the less easy it is to sleep. By thinking about sleep differently, we allow ourselves to sleep well. That’s the secret to a good night’s sleep.
Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash