A better life. That’s the goal of so many people.
That’s why we go on dates to meet potential life partner, work overtime to reach our career goal, or take risk to stand up for our passion even if it looks vain and people are against you: to get a better life.
And it’s not just financially, but also in other aspect including freedom and health.
But, do you know what is one simple thing that can improve your life already? Maybe not financially, no, but it will make you feel better about your life and consequently improves your productivity.
No, the answer is not money. The answer is simple: sleeping.
What’s So Special About Sleeping?
We’re living such a busy life.
We have to take care of ourselves and our family, even our pet. We have to go to work and earn money.
Oh, we have to attend social event too – wedding, party, dinner – and we don’t make time for them people will be offended.
Not to mention that important side project you’re doing so one day you’ll be able to quit your work dramatically. Oh, and laundry?
We often heard, “I need more than 24 hours a day!” and “I don’t have time for this”.
And for most of us, it’s the truth. We want to do a lot of things but our body doesn’t allow it.
By nighttime, our brain doesn’t want to see more chart or more data to crunch or more decision to make.
Our eyes don’t even want to stay open.
And that’s when we wish we have more time to finish our work. That’s when we ask why we have to spend a third of our limited 24 hours to sleep.
Because everybody sleeps, it ceases to be important. Many people take the ability to fall asleep easily, and to sleep deeply and comfortably, as granted.
In fact, many people are looking for tricks to keep themselves sleep as little as possible while not getting the side effect.
People even invent “intermittent sleeping”.
The idea is just like intermittent fasting, but with sleep. So, you are advised to sleep in a small portion of hour, several time a day, instead of sleeping for a long block of time during the night.
Intermittent sleepers often confess that this works well for them, have given them boost of more time a day, and so far, suffered no side effect.
But that’s not the solution for not having enough time. In fact, doctors have advised against this method.
According to them, sleeping is like baking a cake. You do it in one block of time, without pause, or else your cake won’t rise.
So, the key to having a good sleep is to ensure that you’re sleeping enough, and sleeping well.
Sleeping Problem Is Closer Than You Think
For normal people, falling asleep is something that happens naturally. It doesn’t require any trick. Just be tired enough, lie down and close your eyes, and you’re off to dreamland.
For a lot more people than we expect, this is not the case. They suffer from various sleep problem that doesn’t let them fall asleep easily, or they can fall asleep, but to a restless one.
Insomnia is inability to fall asleep.
People with insomnia may go to bed with their energy drained, mind tired, and expect themselves to fall asleep as soon as their head touch the pillow but they don’t.
They just lie there without being able to sleep. Their eyes may close, but their mind is still running as fast as they can.
They may just lie there, tossing and turning, until finally fall asleep when their body can’t take it anymore, probably at 3 PM or later, only to wake up again three or four hours later.
Insomnia is frustrating.
There’s no feeling worse than wanting to sleep, wanting to rest, but you can’t.
The worst part is of course not the frustration, but the side effect.
Sleeping gives your body a chance to rest and recharge, so your battery could be full again for use next day. If you don’t sleep enough, your battery won’t be full, and you’ll get easily drained the next day.
Insomnia isn’t just about unable to fall asleep, but also about having restless sleep.
Sometimes insomniac people can fall asleep, but they can’t sleep deep enough for their brain and body to actually recharge and rest fully.
If we use phone analogy again, it is what happens when you have a faulty charger. You can connect your phone to your charger just fine, but it doesn’t charge as fast as you hope.
It’s just as frustrating. You’ve spent eight hour a day to sleep, but for some reason when you wake up you feel no better than when you went to sleep last night.
There are many conditions that can cause you sleep restlessly at night. Some of them could be medical, while some others are just technical conditions that hopefully, you can improve after reading this article.
Some medical conditions that won’t allow you to rest as well as you should are: sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and narcolepsy.
If you suspect yourself of having any of these sickness’ symptoms, you can visit your physician and ask for formal diagnosis. If the result is positive, then seek help from medical professional. You may be given some medicine or therapy.
If you don’t think you’re having any of these symptoms, but unable to sleep well anyway, then it’s worth for you to try and follow our recommendations below.
What Kind of Sleep Is A Good Sleep?
So, before we head to the practical tips, we have questions to solve.
What kind of sleep is a good sleep? How can we decide if the sleep I have last night and the sleep I have two days ago is different? How to measure it.
We’re going to answer one by one. First, what kind of sleep is a good sleep?
Good sleep is sleep that have two aspect: quantity and quality.
We’re going to talk about quantity first.
Everybody has different exact number of sleeps they need, but it’s roughly 7 hours a day for adult.
Depending on exact age, gender, and health condition, the number can vary, but not by much.
Some people naturally can feel fine with 6 hours sleep a day, but other may still feel like zombie even after 8 hours of sleep a day. But, for most people it’s 7 hours.
So, basically, it’s important to sleep deeply for that many hours a day.
If you have trouble sleeping, then you won’t be able to fulfill this condition, and won’t be able to recharge fully. Your battery at the next day would still be not enough.
Now, what common aspects do people have in a quality sleep? Quality sleep can roughly be counted by these three aspects:
- Taking no less than 30 minutes to fall asleep
- Not waking up at all during the night, or only once
- Fall asleep again within 20 minutes if waking up
You can count the number of those aspects manually, but of course it’s not easy.
You generally don’t count the minutes when you’re trying to fall asleep or when you wake in the middle on the night.
In fact, doing so may actually disrupt your sleep.
It’s especially not recommended if you think you have insomnia, because looking at the clock and counting the minutes may actually make you anxious instead of relaxed.
So, just roughly remember if you fulfill the number of aspects for good quality sleep. Or, even better, take advantage of our advanced technology.
These days, you can use smart devices you attach on your body to monitor how well you sleep. With those devices, you can get insight on how you sleep so far, and finally take recommended action depending on the result you get.
Improving Sleep Quantity and Quality
If your result shows you have been sleeping poorly, don’t be disappointed just yet.
Most wrong can be fixed, and your sleep included.
Sleep quantity is slightly easier to improve rather than sleep quality. You simply have to ensure that you’re fulfilling your sleep quota for a day. Again, for most adults, it is seven hours a day.
1. Make Daily Schedule
Daily schedule helps you to manage your time better.
You can allocate the time for you to work, to do your side project, and to relax.
When you have allotted time to do it, you will feel less likely to work overtime. You will also feel less guilty when you’re relaxing even when your work is not done yet, if the schedule calls for it.
And eventually, you’ll less likely to go to bed late.
2. Prepare Bedtime Routine
To ensure you can fall asleep on time, you have to allocate time at least one hour before that.
Use that time to relax.
Having a bedtime routine can prepare your mind and body to relax before sleeping.
And the fun thing? You can customize your bedtime routine according to your own wish. However, make sure it consists only of things that can calm you instead or excite you.
For example, one hour before your scheduled sleep, you can make chamomile tea and drink it while reading a book.
Avoid exercising or doing anything that involves screen before bedtime, because the light from the device can make your body think it’s still daytime, and not a time to rest yet.
Meanwhile, sleep quality is slightly trickier to improve, mainly just because you can’t really measure it in exact number, unlike sleep quantity. However, you can feel the impact directly in the morning, whether this trick works or not.
1. Watch your diet before sleeping
Diet affects many aspects of your life, and it’s including sleeping.
Some foods are easy to digest, while others not so much.
Eating too many of the latter before sleep can make your stomach feel uncomfortable and it will affect your quality of sleep.
Food to avoid before bed includes:
- Too little water or too much water. It will make you go thirsty so you wake up for water or have to relieve your bladder during the night.
- Caffeine. Caffeine refocus you, makes your nerves alert. You won’t be able to relax and sleep. In fact, the latest time you should consume caffeine is 5 PM.
- Sugar. Sugar will give you energy boost, makes it harder to relax and sleep.
- Big meal. Try to have dinner no later than 9 PM. If you eat dinner too late, your body won’t be able to rest, because they need to digest the food.
- Energy drink. Well, you don’t need any boost of energy before sleeping more than you need caffeine.
2. Invest in the best bedding
People invest in land, building, and security for their future financial security, but believe me that you should also invest in good bedding for you to function better daily (and in turn, boost productivity for the future).
Things that worth to invest for good quality sleep:
- Mattress that is not too hard and not too cushy
- Pillow that support your neck and head well
- Curtain to block lights from outside that is too bright
- Bedcover and quilt that enhance the comfort of the user
You can have them all without sacrificing the aesthetic of your bedroom.
Look for place that sells good quality beddings in various materials and design.
Good bedroom improves your mood and makes it easier for you to relax as well.
3. Make the ideal bedroom
Bedroom is one of the most basic room in a house, but many people just think to put a bed in it and call it a bedroom. In normal situation, this is enough. But, if you think you’re having trouble with sleeping, then you should make a little more effort to make your bedroom ideal for sleeping.
For starter, you can start to invest in these things:
- Air conditioner to ensure the room stay cool enough for your body temperature
- If you have your work desk in your room: partition. This can be in a form of removable partition, bookshelf, or curtain to create a separate space between your bedroom and your work room
- Desk to put your phone at night. Many people charge their phone on their bedside table, but it’s better to put it on a desk that’s across the room from your bed. Not only this lower the risk of radiation from your phone when you’re sleeping, you’ll also less likely to reach for your phone and scrolls your endless timeline until 2 PM.
Bonus: when your alarm rings in the morning, you’ll have no choice but get up to turn it off – making you less likely to hit snooze and fall asleep again.
Quality sleep shouldn’t be something luxurious, yet some of us still struggle to get it. Remember to watch over yourself and analyze your sleep. If you think you’re sleeping less than you should, then it’s time for you to fix your sleeping habit. However, if you find yourself still meeting the same problem even after your effort, try to contact medical professional.