“By helping us keep the world in perspective, sleep gives us a chance to refocus on the essence of who we are. And in that place of connection, it is easier for the fears and concerns of the world to drop away.”
Quality sleep is essential for your health and well-being. You know this. We know this. Everyone knows this. But how can a high-achieving, college-bound young entrepreneur like you develop good sleep habits?
Getting a solid 7-9 hours of sleep per night might seem easier said than done. You probably have external factors keeping you awake at night, such as noise, siblings, light, or an uncomfortable room. And, of course, there are internal factors, like stress, worry, and anxiety.
Tired of being tired? Read on for some helpful tips on getting the deep, restorative quality sleep you need and deserve.
STICK TO A ROUTINE
Bedtime means bedtime. Treasure it. Hold on to it. Reinforce your bedtime boundaries no matter what. Routines help you relax by giving you a sense of control over your life. Your brain craves predictability, and that starts with a firm bedtime every school night.
If this means moving some things around so you can finish the tasks on your to-do list, then do it. Sleep should not be your first sacrifice in the name of schoolwork or your business.
PREPARE FOR TOMORROW
What are some small decisions you can make now that will help you fall asleep tonight?
- What to wear tomorrow
- What to have for breakfast in the morning
- Which snacks and lunch to bring to school
- Whether to pack an umbrella or sweater for tomorrow’s weather
All of these are decisions you can make before you go to bed by checking your weather app and preparing food the night before. With these worries off your mind, your brain will be free to let go and recharge.
DRESS FOR COMFORT
Bedtime is not a fashion show. (And if it is, please tell us how and why.) Wear comfy clothes. If you know you run cold, put on soft, warm pants and socks.
Your pajamas should not be school clothes. Give yourself a tactile, visible buffer that separates school from bedtime with separate pajamas.
AVOID FOOD RIGHT BEFORE BED
Give yourself time to digest before you hit the sack. Eating right before sleeping can negatively affect your body, which can then lead to an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. While the jury is still out on whether eating before bed can cause weight gain (so that’s not the concern), we do know that lying down after you eat can cause heartburn and indigestion. Your body just wasn’t made to process food in that position.
TURN OFF THE SCREENS
This might be the toughest tip yet, but we promise it can help. For at least half an hour before bed, avoid your phone, computer, laptop, tablet, and tv. All these things stimulate your brain and keep you from being able to truly relax.
No one is saying you have to completely empty your mind and chant “ohm” for an hour every night. But it might be nice to train your brain to let go and calm down in the evenings. Even a few minutes of silence while you close your eyes can signal to your brain that it’s time to rest.
A great bonus of regular nighttime meditation is that you may find it slipping into your waking life, which then improves your ability to stay calm and focused in any situation.
READ A BOOK
Preferably not a schoolbook. You’ve worked your mind and body hard enough today. And screens are not great for your sense of relaxation. Head to your town or school library and find a book that looks good to you. Something that captures your imagination and makes you feel good. Reading for pleasure not only calms you down but can also increase your creativity and problem-solving skills!
SLEEP IN A COOL, DARK, QUIET ROOM
If it were that easy, everyone would do it. Right?
Let’s say you share a room with someone who gets cold, snores, and needs 3 nightlights. What can you do?
Get a personal fan and keep it by your bedside. You can cool off without affecting the air temperature of the entire house.
Invest in a good sleep mask. People who work night shifts use sleep masks to block out the light.
Try earplugs. There are plenty of styles and sizes to choose from. (Just make sure your alarm clock is loud enough to hear you through the earplugs!) Or download a white noise app and put on earbuds when you go to sleep.
DON’T DO TONIGHT WHAT YOU CAN PUT OFF TILL TOMORROW
Anything that is not urgent can wait. Write down what you need to remember to do tomorrow. Writing it down helps move it out of your brain.
BRAIN DUMP EVERYTHING ELSE
Something else on your mind? Trying to work through a massive problem? Can’t let go of something that happened in school earlier?
Write it all down. This isn’t an AP English essay; it doesn’t have to be coherent. It doesn’t even have to be words. Just get it all out there, away from your mind and body. Buy a notepad or journal especially for this purpose. Think of this as a vault for anything that might keep you from falling asleep. You’re not ignoring these things; you’re simply setting them aside.
BED IS FOR SLEEPING
Don’t do homework in bed. Don’t go on social media in bed. The process of moving your body into your bed should become a massive signal to your brain and body that this is the time and place for sleeping.
A good sleep routine is just that – a routine. Not all these tips might be practical every single day. There are exceptions, emergencies, and times when it’s just not possible to, say, meditate before bed. The point of this advice is not to overhaul your entire evening routine in a single night. Try implementing them one at a time and see how it goes. Give them each a chance to work. Once you have a better routine, you’ll always be able to go back to it no matter what life throws at you.
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