Bed is my favorite place in the whole world and sleep is my favourite thing to do! Although before I superpowered my sleep, my answer would have been different. Until this year I had a typical unhealthy relationship with my restorative best friend, sleep. There was not even as much as a hint of routine to my bedtime. I would go to bed anytime between 11pm and 2am and mostly after a nightmare invoking scary encounter with Jon Snow or some horrendous serial killer being hunted by the Criminal Minds team. This often led to broken sleep or hours of running from the scary guys. Not to mention my ‘one-second’ of social media browsing in bed, which would usually end up being 30 minutes of mindless wondering through other peoples digital lives. I had no set rise time and I could easily sleep to lunchtime at the weekend. The common sense theory that a restful bedtime routine, an undisturbed sleep and gentle morning routine would be better for my health and increase my productivity (the main reason I needed to shake things up) was becoming difficult to ignore.
These habits I needed to establish to superpower my sleep, where so simple yet so effective when applied with a little discipline. I split these superpower sleep habits into three categories; Bedtime Ease, Sleep Sound and Meditative Rise.
We can blame our spouse for infecting us with a poor bedtime routine, which I was guilty of for years, but actually I have realised that his routine was his to own, not mine. If I was to fall victim to someone else’s poor routine I was a fool. I needed to take responsibility for my own pre bed habits. Once you do, they generally follow suit leading a healthy sleep for everyone.
I aim to go to bed from 9.30pm – 10pm and being successfully sleeping by 10.30pm. This gives me 30-60 minutes of no-screen wind down time. I simply enjoy the quiet of the late evening with no noise or dinging notifications. Speaking of which, the blue light enemy needs addressed here. I have one rule in my bedroom – no tech! All phones, iPads, chargers etc live in the hall. There are two reasons for my little rule. Firstly the bedroom is not the place for digital disruption and secondly when the alarm goes in the morning I am forced to get up to turn it off – this removes the option for snooze as I am already up and have taken 20 steps into the new day.
Having a tech free bedroom means you wont reach for your phone if you wake during the night. The anxiety-inducing action of constantly checking your phone is becoming an epidemic! Take control and superpower your sleep by removing the over stimulating blue light from your sleep life. If you need encouragement to nod off then introduce beautiful books to your life. I find books too stimulating at night so I practice yogic breathing as my sleep aid. Thankfully getting to or staying asleep is never an issue for me!
This element of my superpowered sleep is the most important for me. How you wake will determine the day that lies ahead. Don’t check emails or social media until you are at the desk – this is a difficult habit to enforce but a discipline that will change your daily mindset dramatically. Remember nothing is that important that it cannot wait until you are ready to face the world. Incase you have not noticed I believe in a good 10-12 hours tech free period every day.
Ask yourself this question, what do you do first thing in the morning, make a coffee, hug your spouse or check emails? You should be choosing option A or B as we have just removed tech! Better still introduce a new option. Before the house wakes, sit for 10 minutes in a quite space and breathe deep mindful breaths. It wasn’t until Adriana Huffington explained in her book ‘Thrive’ that meditation doesn’t have to be practiced like a monk in hours of painful silence that I realised I could practice a little everyday (but my journey to meditation is a whole other blog!). For me the best time to simply sit and focus solely on my breath is the morning. I love the silence of a quite house and the pending excitement of the day ahead. 10 minutes with my mind and breath starts the day with calmness and a sense of collectiveness which is new to me. Am I more productive because of this morning routine? Definitely! Is meditation easy? No, but it is getting better.
Superpowering my sleep this year has took discipline, the enforcement of habits and embracing the intimidating world of meditation but the difference to my output and health is remarkable and surly will only get better with practice.
Lucy A x