A number of us are sleep-deprived because we wake up early—or earlier than we like—to get to school or to the office on time, and we sleep late due to assignments we have to do, overtime work, catching up on Jane the Virgin, or scrolling through our news feeds.
We can try to sleep earlier when we actually specify what time we want to sleep and how many hours we’d like to sleep. It also helps to avoid doing something unproductive and time-consuming. (Don’t tell me you haven’t experienced going through your Instagram feed and realizing that two hours have already passed!)
But going to bed doesn’t mean we fall asleep right away. We can be kept awake by our worries (“Did I reply to my other client’s e-mail?” “Crap! I forgot to pay my credit card bill!”). Which is why it’s not exactly wise to spend the time before you sleep recounting what you have and haven’t accomplished that day—you can do that, but not when you’re already tucked in bed. You fall asleep easily and sleep more soundly when you feel relaxed.
Ron Friedman, PhD, an award-winning social psychologist who specializes in motivating people, suggests things we can do in those few minutes before we sleep:
Lower the temperature. Cool temperatures make sleeping more pleasurable.
Create a spa-like environment. Buy a reed diffuser in your favorite scent, and play music that relaxes you. Close your eyes, and breathe deeply. Relax.
Express your gratitude. This will put you in a good mood, so you’ll just have positive thoughts to soothe you.
Meditate. Practicing mindfulness lowers stress and elevates the mood.
Take a quiet walk. This is relaxing especially when the weather conditions are right.
Read something that makes you happy. There’s a reason why we had bedtime stories when we were restless kids. They got our attention without effort and entertained us, hence putting us in a good mood.
Keep a notebook and pen nearby. If some errand suddenly comes to mind, write it down instead of fussing about it. It will make it easier for you to let that thought go in the meantime.
Source: Harvard Business Review