You've finally reached your breaking point: after another night spent tossing and turning, a morning where you struggle to get out of bed, and a day fighting sleepiness and fatigue, you are committed to trying to sleep better. This can be a significant and life-changing goal, and it can also be a little intimidating. Where should you even begin? Fortunately, there are a series of specific changes you can make that will help you to sleep better. Set aside the next 30 days to focus on how to begin to implement this advice, and you'll discover that you can, indeed, enjoy the sleep of your dreams.
Committing Yourself to Better Sleep
Before setting off on this path of personal improvement, you should candidly assess your level of commitment: are you willing to make some hard choices? Is it a good time in your life to focus on your sleep and set necessary boundaries? Can you see this process through to its end? If your life is in an uproar, now may not be the perfect opportunity to focus on your sleep. But if you're ready and willing to improve your sleep, there is no better time than the present to make some changes.
As you consider the various elements to this process, you may discover tasks that are irrelevant to your situation or needs. The good news is that you'll be able to race past these obstacles! For example, if you don’t smoke cigarettes, you won’t need to give up smoking. But there may be days when you identify a major challenge, and certain topics may really strike a chord with you. If you find an issue that requires a little extra effort, it's okay to take the time needed to really master the lesson. Don’t short-change yourself in this process by failing to do some of the hard work: your reward will come in due time, and improving your sleep will be worth your perseverance and commitment.
How to Sleep Better in 30 Days
The following series is organized to provide you guidance and support in your efforts to sleep better. It can be implemented over the course of a month, with different tasks assigned to each of the 30 days. Major changes are spaced out in the schedule to allow prior tasks the time needed to take effect. Most of the first week, for example, focuses on improving your sleep environment after the recommendation to fix your waking time is in place — but some of the groundwork laid through self-reflection this week will provide a foundation later on. Similarly, as is later recommended, creating a relaxing buffer zone and going to bed when you feel sleepy will take some effort, while simultaneously rearranging the use of substances may come easier.
There are recommendations that will be fruitful and corrective in different situations for different people. If the topic doesn't seem relevant to your situation, it may not be. There are lessons that will be profoundly important, but they may not have the same resonance for different people in unique circumstances.
The latter portion of this plan is meant to tidy up some of the loose ends, including conditions that can undermine sleep. If the early changes haven't proven to be effective or relevant, it may be because other issues are at play. Ultimately, if your efforts aren't rewarded in the end, it may be useful to speak with a sleep doctor who can provide you the personal assistance you need to overcome any remaining problems. This advice is generally good for all, but carefully crafting it to attend to your individual needs may make it invaluable.
Implementing the Plan to Sleep Better
The following plan can be revisited on a daily basis, and each post can be read and implemented over sequential days. But it's not necessary for it all to unfold in an orderly manner: you may find that you need to take longer on one particular task, and conversely, you may be able to breeze by recommendations that are irrelevant to you. Personalize the plan to fit your needs and your situation as best as you can, and allow flexibility in the process. Whatever you do, stick with it. Your reward will be not only a better night's sleep, but also improved vitality and function during the day. The goal is very worthy of your efforts, and you should be commended for committing yourself to the process. So this is it — let’s get started...
- Day 1: Wake Up at the Same Time Every Day
- Day 2: Remove the Electronics from the Bedroom
- Day 3: Lock the Pets Out of the Bedroom
- Day 4: Calculate Your Sleep Needs
- Day 5: Sleep at the Right Time for You
- Day 6: Pay Off Your Sleep Debt
- Day 7: Learn the Difference Between Sleepiness and Fatigue
- Day 8: Go to Bed Only When Sleepy
- Day 9: Create a Relaxing Buffer Zone with Sleep Rituals
- Day 10: Avoid Alcohol Near Bedtime
- Day 11: Cut Out the Caffeine
- Day 12: Stop Smoking and Start Sleeping
- Day 13: Get Exercise at the Right Time
- Day 14: Decrease the Frequency of Trips to the Bathroom to Pee
- Day 15: Avoid Heartburn at Night
- Day 16: Don’t Lie Awake in Bed at Night
- Day 17: Manage Your Stress with Relaxation Techniques
- Day 18: For a Racing Mind, Make a List
- Day 19: Instead of Trying to Sleep, Change the Focus to Rest
- Day 20: Don’t Take Naps
- Day 21: Restrict Your Time in Bed, Consolidate Your Sleep
- Day 22: Address Underlying Mood Disorders, Including Anxiety and Depression
- Day 23: Snoring and Sleepiness Equals Sleep Apnea
- Day 24: Quiet Your Restless Legs
- Day 25: Focus on Weight Loss
- Day 26: Expose Yourself to Morning Sunlight
- Day 27: Get Rid of the Alarm Clock
- Day 28: Consider If You Are Too Sleepy
- Day 29: Make Sleep a Priority
- Day 30: See a Sleep Doctor