tea before bed

Ultimate Guide to Sleep Better: a Sleeptember Challenge

Elina SelfCare

I was thinking of a challenge I could do in September. Going to sleep on time is the usual struggle for me. There is so much to do once my kid goes to sleep and too little time. I love self-care and the ultimate self-care is going to sleep on time. This summer I rarely went to sleep on time. And it shows in my body I feel tired throughout the day and my mind is foggy. 

Because it’s a school season and my son needs to go to bed earlier. This will mean I will have more time in the evening. 

So I decided to outline the Sleeptember Challenge simply put I need to go to bed on time.

I researched this topic a long time ago so I pretty much know what I have to do. I will outline it here so you’ll also have an idea where to begin.

Your Bedroom:

Declutter your sleeping area before you start the challenge. Create a tranquil space where you can relax at the end of the day. Your electronics should be far away from your bed. Your clothes should be in the closet and there should be nothing else on the bed other than the pillows, a comforter, and bedsheets. Your bedroom should also be dust-free and clean.

Your bed:

Your bed should be only for sex and sleeping. This should be a hard rule because a lot of sleep problems stem from the other activities that seem harmless like watching tv, reading, browsing the internet, etc. Your bed should be a screen-free zone. This will allow a good production of melatonin that regulates your sleep-wake cycle.

Darkness:

Your melatonin production is also dependable on the darkness in your bedroom. You need a very dark room to produce a sufficient amount of melatonin. Your circadian rhythm depends on it.

Power down routine:

So after you sweep your room clean from distractions and clutter you can start mapping out your going-to-sleep routine. This will make going to sleep on time easier. Ideally, take an hour before you need to be in bed and choose from the activities that calm you and put you in the right state of mind before going to bed. These are the calming activities to chose from:

  • Yoga
  • Skincare
  • Reading
  • Meditation
  • A bath
  • Writing in your journal
  • A camomile tea and a good conversation
  • Everything and anything that calms you and brings your joy before bedtime. So take an hour before going to sleep and prioritize it as a self-care hour.

Other things that will make your sleep-time blissful:

Exercise:

Exercising throughout the day will make you sleep better. The endorphins from exercise will make you fall asleep faster. But there are conflicting studies that show that exercising too close to the ‘lights out’ will make you feel energized and thus make falling asleep harder. So as a precaution exercise in the morning or midday if possible and only do relaxing stretching or yoga before going to bed.

No Caffeine past 1 pm:

I know, I know it’s such an unfair one but caffeine takes up to 8 hours to be flushed out of your system. So if you can’t imagine yourself without a cup of coffee after 1 pm, at least switch to decaf.

Appointment with yourself:

Make an appointment to start your bedtime routine. Make a notification on your phone. Once the notification will pop up, put your phone on flight mode or put it somewhere to charge and start your self-care bedtime routine. Treat it as an appointment with any other human being, prioritize it.

Sufficient amount of sleep:

Find out how much you need to sleep to feel rested. It’s recommended to sleep optimal of  7-8 hours. I personally, know that I need a full 9 hours of sleep to feel rested and full of energy throughout the day. It sucks because to get up at 5 am, to get working on my personal goals… I need to go to sleep at 8 pm which is not realistic for me. I want to go to sleep around 10 pm this gives me enough time to do chores and my nighttime routine and get 9 hours of sleep to get up at 7 am.

Sleep calculator?

If you don’t know how much hours of sleep you need to feel rested and you just want to be efficient with your sleep you can calculate when you need to go to bed with this calculator. Just give in the time that you want to be up and fully functioning and it will calculate whenever it’s best to go to sleep. It has to do with your REM sleep cycles. Whenever you are in the REM sleep it’s harder to wake up. This calculator will make waking up easier.

Say yes to meditation:

Last but certainly not least make meditation your friend. All practices of meditation will make your sleep time better. Even if you meditate in the morning it will still have an effect in the evening. So hop on the wagon and let make Sleeptember a thing.

Here are some books that I’ve read to get me motivated for this challenge:

Adriana Huffington’s: The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time

Hal Elrod’s: The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM)

W. Chris Winters’s: The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep is Broken and How to Fix It

I hope these tips will grant you a good night sleep.

Elina