My head was spinning, stress levels at an all-time high, and I felt nauseas and sick.  I stood a defeated man at base camp, who was only at the beginning of a long arduous climb to the top, where lay my goals.

My base camp, the beginning of my last year of university. On the mountain peak stood- graduation. However it was not just my body weight that I pulled to the top, there was so much more. My backpack laid burden with the weight of public speaking, volunteering, weightlifting, cardio, meal prepping, reading a book a week, and trying to manage a relationship and friends.

I felt like atlas holding up the weight of the world!

How would I possibly succeed, how would I find time for it all?

Have you ever felt this? Burdened by responsibility, goals, and a desire to achieve more?

After much thought, I found a simple solution to my lack of time.

The solution lay in the much dreaded sacrifice of sleep.

But let me stop you for a second before you completely disregard this post. Have you ever slept for 8-9 hours and still felt tired?

Have you ever woken up feeling totally refreshed after only 5-6 hours?

That’s pretty interesting, right? Why is that?

Well the answer lies in the quality of our sleep, something that most people never research or take into consideration. I am going to outline a few simple ways to improve the quality of your sleep and get you feeling refreshed and energized after only 5-6 hours. This will allow you to have more time during the day to complete the things that you have always wanted to do.

THE 2 TIPS ARE

-CREATE THE ENVIROMENT- This one is not to hard, you must create a place that is very conducive to sleeping.

Temperature: 60-65 degrees ferinheight is the ideal range for sleeping; this is because our bodies must lower its temperature by about 2-3 degrees to induce sleeping.  Start by lowering your room’s temperature to this range then adding blankets accordingly.

Lighting: Our environments have evolved past living in caves and fields and sleeping in pitch black darkness. But our bodies have not evolved and the sleep cycle and schedule is thus still prompted by darkness. Therefor we must create a room that is as dark as possible. The darkness helps to promote melatonin in our body and prompts our natural sleep cycle to run its course. We can darken our environments by turning out all the lights, buying blackout curtains, or simply wearing an nighttime eye shade.

Noise- Create a noise free environment so that you don’t have any disruptions.  This can be sometimes tough depending on your environment. You may live with noisy roommates, in a noisy apartment complex, or have a noisy partner.  The best cure for this noise and distraction is to buy a pair of ear plugs that you put on before bed. This will take the pressure from others to respect your silence.

-MASTER THE HABITS

Sleep is a habit believe it or not!

Habits that trigger sleep- A habit is a response to a certain trigger. People that have lived a very regimented life for a certain period of time will develop deep rooted habits, sometimes around sleep. For instance if you took a person who served in the military and they were required to rise at 5am every morning for an extended period of time, it is very typical for these individual’s to continue the pattern even once they are no longer in service.  The reverse is also applicable. If you give a child a curfew say 9pm for an extended period of time,  he/she will eventually develop a habit of feeling sleepy and tired around 9pm, due to the trigger which is 9pm. Thus we can create a response in our body to feel tired at a certain time, and a response to feel awake at a certain time. Therefor create a bed time like you had when you were a kid; as well create a time to wake up. These routines will lead you to having a more restful sleep because your body will know due to triggers when to sleep, and when to rise. It will produce more melatonin at your set bedtime and you will naturally have a deeper more restful sleep.

Habit to help you sleep- As technology becomes more and more prevalent so does the desire to constantly be looking and checking it, right up until you are about to shut your eyes to go to sleep. By looking at a screen which produces unnatural light you begin to tamper with your body’s natural sleep schedule and ability to produce melatonin.  Therefor you must create a habit of limiting unnatural light for an hour before bed. You don’t have to take it to the extreme of walking around your house in the pitch black like its 1855. But do create a habit of shutting off all electronics such as phones, ipods, computers and tv’s and hour before bed and resort to books or other means entertainment. You will notice that your sleep will become deeper and more restful.

The second habit to implement is to ONLY use your bed to sleep. That means no more reading in bed, movies in bed, eating in bed! When you use your bed for only sleep your mind is able to create links and associations to the bed. Thus the bed becomes linked to feeling tired and sleepy, it is a place of rest. The links can become stronger and stronger over time so that the simple act of lying on your bed will induce a certain amount or relaxation and tranquility.

Create a powerful association between sleep and your bed by only using for sleeping!

So build the environment, master the habits and you’ll be amazing at the quality of your sleep.