If you're one of the 40% of Americans who doesn't get enough sleep (or are sleep-deprived on an international scale), you should really try and do something to fix this problem. Not only does lack of sleep affect your productivity and decision-making skills, it also makes you crabby. No one likes you when you're crabby. I mean "you" as in you personally. You're no fun when you're tired. It's proven by science.
Enter Kevin Loria. He's got a piece up on Business Insider right now all about achieving better sleep by way of nine easy steps. Most of them involve adopting rituals since good sleep is a habit rather than something you can just make happen.
1. It begins with choosing a set bedtime. Loria says not to vaguely decide that you're going to head to bed "early." Remember: we're working with rituals here. Rituals are not abstract. If you need to be up at 7am, commit to being asleep by 11pm. Tell yourself that whatever activities you're doing past your bedtime aren't as important as getting necessary amounts of shuteye.
2. Other tips include not bringing any screens to bed with you (my personal curse). That cell phone you're constantly checking sends an unhelpful signal to the brain indicating day time. Your body doesn't like to sleep during the day. Stop tricking your brain. It's not nice.
3. Refusing to hit the snooze button helps to solidify your sleeping hours. Once your body is aware that this is the time to wake up, it's easier to get out of bed. It also becomes easier to set a time to fall asleep.
4. Not eating immediately before sleeping. Eating will store energy in your body, which makes you want to stay awake. If you're low on energy climbing into bed, it won't be so difficult to stay there.
5. Performing a restful act (such as reading) for the half-hour before bedtime. Something like reading or meditation will help your brain slow down. Once relaxed, sleep is easy to come by.
Sleep psychologist Shelby Harris discusses sleep, as it is hardly a period of inactivity for the brain. During a normal night’s sleep, the brain cycles through various stages including REM sleep, during which the brain is just as active as when it is awake.
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