When the alarm goes off each morning, are you the kind that swings the sheets off, somersaults to your feet, and looks off into the middle distance while a triumphant song plays in the background, a gentle breeze blows through your hair, and the voice of Jame Earl Jones reads you words of encouragement? Or do you, like me, throw your phone through the window, flip over in bed, tell yourself you'll get up in a minute, but immediately fall back asleep? I don't how normal people do it: being active and productive seemingly from the moment they open their eyes. Personally, I would never make it work on time if I didn't set at least 8 alarms for the morning. As far back as I can remember, waking up was a struggle. Gradeschool, high school, college, internships, jobs, dinner parties... am I cursed to forever rely on the songs of a thousand alarms to remind me that it's time to be responsible and contribute to society?
Well nay, I say! Nay! Alarms are annoying and loud. No, I don't care if that's the point! That's what children and pets are for, and I have neither! From now on the cacophony of alarms will be replaced with the indomitable strength of our burning wills and the sound loop of a babbling brook. I say unto you, brethren of the bedsheets, we shall overcome our daily morning struggles. We shall wake up on time, the first time, every time. We shall cast off the shackles of drowsiness, dismantle the institution of lethargy, and strike boldly at the core of our morning routine!! But first, we must fix our bedtime routine.
A good morning is born out of a good night. Having a good sleep hygiene routine will set you up to be in the best possible position to build better morning habits. "But what should we do?" you ask. "Where do we start? Hold me, I'm scared!" Fear not! I've scoured the globe using the awesome power of the internet and gathered 7 tips to help you make the best of your sleepy bye bye times and achieve quality restful sleep.
1 Consistency is Key
Go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up at the same time every morning. Even on weekends. I know, I know, waking up early on weekends is the worst. Trust me, the best way to eliminate your alarm is to not need it and this is how you'll get there.
2 When you eat matters
Avoid eating large meals 2-3 hours before bedtime. Thanksgiving food comas aside, it's harder to fall asleep when your tummy is working hard to digest food. Plus, it may give you heartburn the next morning.
3 Caffeine is SUPER EFFECTIVE
It could be up to 12 hours before caffeine is fully out of your system. When I was a bright young lad, Instead of milk before bed I would drink coffee. It put hair on my chest. Now that I'm a hairy old man, drinking coffee past noon could keep me up all night. Coke can do it too. Moral of the story: either stop getting old or cut the caffeine earlier in the day.
4 Alcohol Is Not for Sleep
Your ol' pal Mr. Jack Daniel may carry you to dreamland, but when you get there you're not gonna have a good time. Alcohol interferes with sleep and may give you nightmares and wake you up. Not the normal kind of wake up, no this is the kind of wake up that's so short you're not aware it ever happened, but it'll still take chunks out of your ability to recharge. Skip the bottle, take something over the counter, and see a doctor if you keep needing a sleep aid.
5 Work It Out
With a lot of us having cushy desk jobs it's easy to get head tired but not body tired. The solution: Exercise. Use up whatever energy your body is holding on to by hitting the gym to pump some iron or going for a relaxing but purposeful walk around the neighborhood. Whatever you do to get some sweat going, you'll want to finish a few hours before bedtime to give you enough time to fully wind down.
6 Lights Out
Staring at your phone may not be as harmful as witnessing the majesty of the sun with your bare eyeballs, but it too can mess with your sleep. So basically, less light means better sleep, and less light before sleep means an easier time falling asleep. Phone, TV, lightbulbs, that floodlight that's pointing RIGHT INTO YOUR BEDROOM FOR SOME REASON? You gotta mitigate all of that. What worked for me was a very thick blackout curtain, and now I could sleep through the second coming of Jesus.
7 These Sheets Were Made for Sleeping
And that's just what they'll do. Your bed is not a rec-center, use it only for sleep. There are a few exceptions, of course, but things like work, scrolling through social media, playing video games, and eating is best left off the bed and if possible outside of the bedroom. Your bed is not a place to do things and be stimulated, it should instead trigger a pavlovian response in your brain to chill out and go to sleep.
Changing old habits isn't easy, and sometimes you're just gonna have to take that L. But it can be done. I'm a night owl. It's way too easy for me to stay up to ungodly hours. I don't even need a reason. But by slowly phasing in the tips above into my nighttime routine, I'm in bed by 10 (don't laugh, that's early for me) and usually I'm asleep in about 15 minutes. Talk with your doctor if you consistently have trouble falling asleep especially if it goes beyond a few bad habits.
If you can fall asleep but never feel rested, you may have sleep apnea. Click here to learn more.