If there’s one thing we always read about online, it’s productivity. Everyone’s talking about it. A lot of people want to learn how they can overcome procrastination, how they can do more things in a shorter period of time, or simply how to accomplish more things in general.
Everyone is so focused on how to organize stuff or how to create a better system. That’s why most of us fail to realize that the secret lies in sleep. And not just any kind of sleep. High-quality sleep.
You must think us crazy, but we promise you, we’re not. That’s because high-quality sleep gives us the energy we need to do the things that we want to do.
In fact, according to a study done by the Department of Psychiatry in the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, sleepiness can cause fatigue, confusion, mood disturbances.
We won’t be sharing best habit-forming apps, calendars perfect for scheduling tasks, or a well-oiled work system. No, not today.
But what we are going to share with you are nine secrets in order to improve the quality of your sleep, and thus improve your productivity—and they’re all proven by science!
Sounds exciting? Then let’s get started.
The Basics of Sleep Optimization
Sleep optimization is the process of improving the quality of your sleep and bringing your body back to its natural sleeping habits.
Our body was already programmed to sleep in such a state when we were born, but as years pass (and tons of caffeine later), we forge our bodies to form unhealthy sleeping habits. But don’t worry, not all is lost!
Here are nine ways to get optimize our sleep and form healthier sleeping habits.
Number 1: Limit your caffeine in the mornings.
Most of us love our coffee, even we cannot function without it! Unfortunately, if you want to get your sleep back, you have to limit your intake.
In fact, according to a recent study done on the subject, even having a moderate dose of caffeine six hours before bedtime already has a significant effect on sleep disturbance.
We’re not telling you to cut off coffee from your life entirely. Just don’t drink a cup six hours before bed.
Number 2: Exercise more!
A lot has been said about the importance of exercise and increased physical activity in having a stronger and healthier body. But did you know that it can affect your sleep too? It has been found that the lack of physical activity may contribute to sleep disturbance.
Never underestimate your fitness routine. After all, it can help you meet your weight goals too.
Number 3: Take a warm bath before bed.
Do you know what feels good after exercise? A nice, warm bath. Coincidentally, taking a bath before bed can also improve your sleep.
A study done by Gunman University in Japan did a research about this involving both young and elderly subjects, and the results they found were amazing. Taking a bath before bed improves the quality of sleep of everyone, regardless of their age.
Number 4: Make your room cooler.
Here’s another factor that can affect our sleep: temperature. We have to remember that, when sleeping, a lot of elements are at play here when it comes to creating a temperature suitable for sleep.
Too much heat, for instance, can cause sleep disturbance and can affect the REM state. REM or rapid eye movement is a state of deep sleep and is responsible for dreaming. But aside from taking you to the land of dreams, REM is also important to stimulate our brain for learning and help the body cope with different medical conditions.
Hence, we need to ensure that our room is cool enough in order to improve the quality of our sleep, especially during the REM state. And we’re not just talking about the temperature of your room.As what we’ve mentioned above, there are different elements that you have to consider as well, such as your body heat, your sleepwear, and of course, the thickness of your beddings and blanket.
Number 5: Unload your worries before bed…
According to one study, one of the most common complaints of insomniacs is being plagued with unwanted thoughts and worries, and that’s what is keeping them from falling asleep.
Here’s a quick tip. If you’re also suffering from thinking about your problems and worries before bed, then you can write them down. By journaling these thoughts, you can free your mind from them and unload your worries.
If that is not enough then you should consider performing meditative exercises too. Not sure how to do that? Then let’s now move on to the next step of sleep optimization.
Number 6: ..And fill your mind with positive thoughts.
That’s right, you don’t have to empty your mind in order to meditate successfully. You can focus on thinking about positive thoughts instead.
And by doing that, you will be improving the quality of your sleep too.
Number 7: Lessen your light exposure at night.
Another topic that we should touch upon when talking about sleep is our body’s circadian rhythm. According to the National Sleep Foundation, this is our body’s internal clock that tells us when to sleep and when to be awake and it is directly linked to light.
This is the reason why we feel more awake during the day and we feel drowsier at night. Now, we understand that there are tasks we need to do during the evenings too. However, if you can minimize your light exposure, then you should know that it can help a lot in improving your sleep quality as well.
In fact, we’re not just talking about minimizing our exposure to ordinary light, you should include your use of digital devices as well, which emits an artificial light, also known as “blue light”. We’ll talk about this in a bit.
Number 8: Limit your screen time.
Yes, we’re really serious about this. Do not use your phone on your bed. Beds are for sleeping.
We all want to check our social media accounts before bed, or have one last look in our emails, but if you really want to improve your quality of your sleep, this is one change you really have to make.
That’s because the artificial light of your screen contains a lot of blue light (which is actually similar to the light being given out by the sun). And this blue light screws up our body’s production of melatonin, which according to the National Sleep Foundation, is a hormone responsible in getting us sleepy.
So for those who are actually taking melatonin supplements to help them get to sleep, well guess what? All you have to do is to avoid using your phone before bed, and you won’t need them!
Number 9: Level up your sleep game.
In fact, according to a study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, just by getting a new bedding system, you will already help increase your sleep quality and reduce back aches. You might be wondering what type of mattress.
Well, in another study, it was pointed out that most of their participants slept significantly better on a softer mattress, while other articles pointed out that sleeping on a firmer mattress is better.
The bottom line? A study by Research Triangle International (that involved more than a hundred subjects and more than 16,000 hours of sleep), pointed out that the right firmness varies on the preference of its user.
The search for the perfect mattress for you might involve a bit of trial and error, but once you’ve found it, your life will change.As for pillows, they can drastically affect your sleep quality too. A research published on Physiotherapy Canada points that out by saying that all of the participants who complained about their poor sleep quality also reported about the lack of pillow comfort.
The Sleepy Conclusion
To end, here’s a quick rundown of the nine things you need to do in order to have better sleep:
· Lessen caffeine intake.
· Exercise more.
· Take a bath before you go to bed.
· Make your bedroom cooler.
· Don’t think about your worries before going to bed.
· Think about good things instead.
· Lessen your light exposure.
· Lessen your screen exposure.
· And finally, get yourself a better mattress and pillows.
And all of these tips that we have shared with you are backed by science.
Sleep is important. We spend most of our lives sleeping, and we need it to replenish our energy, give our body a time to rest, and allow our mind to do all the processes it needs to do that it can’t do while we’re awake.
So you want to live healthier and be more productive this year, you say? Start with improving the quality of your sleep, and we promise you, the rest will follow.
Do you have any other ways that help you sleep? Tell us in the comments section below!