I've always considered myself to be a night owl.
During my 12-year career in marketing and event planning, I was perpetually sleep deprived because, no matter how hard I tried, I rarely fell asleep before midnight or even 1 am. Getting to work at 8 in the morning never came easily to me, so one of the main reasons I became self-employed was the freedom to sleep on my own schedule.
It wasn't until I did a 10-day Vipassana meditation course that I realized I was indeed capable of waking up by 4:30 a.m.(!) multiple days in a row and, shockingly, that I actually began to enjoy it! Since that time I have endeavored to alter my sleep schedule many times and have finally (mostly) figured out what works best for me.
It still takes more effort than I'd like in order to maintain my sleep schedule but the rewards are immeasurable. I know that if I don't get high-quality sleep for at least 8 hours/night, I'm not able to show up fully for my clients, my health and energy level suffer, and I'm irritable.
Do you also struggle with sleep? If so, here are a BUNCH of my tips that can help you get a better night's sleep. Sleep is vital!
*Sunlight during the day, especially in the morning. This resets your circadian rhythms. Artificial light is a relatively new invention that disrupts several functions, especially our natural sleep-wake cycle.
*Having a hard, sweaty workout no later than mid-afternoon. I fall asleep with ease after every leg day at the gym!
*No screens after a certain time, generally within two hours of bedtime.
*Setting my phone to go into "dark mode" at a certain time. It also serves as a cue to get off social media or email if I've gotten sucked in.
*Putting my phone in its "phone sleeping bag" in the other room at about the same time every night. @bagbybrand sells these and they're super cute, plus you can buy a set that includes an analog alarm clock.
*A reminder in the free Calm app tells me "Start winding down" at 9:30 pm
*No caffeine or added sugar (yes, not at all, at any time of the day). This has done wonders for my overall health and mental well-being. I still have a little ceremonial-grade cacao (from my fave Holy Wow Cacao) if I haven't slept well the night prior and want a gentle energy boost, or for doing introspective or creative work.
*Having a bedtime routine or ritual. Maybe you have a cup of tea (I love chamomile with coconut milk or MCT powder, Kava on occasion, or the classic Sleepytime tea)
*I remind myself how much I love reading in bed. This often motivates me to get there sooner, rather than do active stuff right up until the time I should be sleeping
*Showering earlier in the evening. I've been a night-showerer for years and didn't notice until recently that, if a shower after a certain time at night, it actually wakes me up more than calms me. I had no idea! So now if I don't shower by a certain time, I just go to bed and shower in the morning.
*I made a list of things I like about mornings, and noticed in my past journal entries that I am WAY happier, more patient, and have more energy when I get enough sleep and wake up early (for me).
I must also add that I've been taking supplements to treat adrenal fatigue/sympathetic dominance (among other things) and have switched to my personalized version of an ancestral diet (aka a Paleo diet). Eating nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods has undoubtedly improved the quality of my sleep.