How to Go to Bed Early
Updated: Dec 29, 2020
Want to feel rested in the morning? Check out these tips to help you fall asleep on time.
Getting enough quality sleep can be difficult for many of us in today’s busy world. And yet, proper sleep hygiene is an undeniable aspect of our overall well-being. Without restful sleep, how can we possibly be our best selves?
If left unchecked, poor sleep can lead to major complications in our health and interpersonal relationships. But listen up: You do not have to feel powerless nor resign yourself to putting up with the side effects of bad sleep. Simply correcting a few bad habits can completely change the entire dynamic of your quality of sleep.
Check out these tips to help you go to bed earlier for a more restful morning:
Tip #1: No Screens Before Bed
TL;DR: Turn your phone on silent and put it down at least thirty minutes before bed.
Back in the era of wood-paneled televisions fifty years ago, who would have imagined that we would one day have screens small and portable enough to fit inside our pockets? And on top of that—tiny screens connected to high speed global networks? That would make just about anything a click or search away? Inconceivable!
Our relationship with technology is so entangled that it can be difficult to put our phones down for a moment... But that is exactly what we need to do if we want to get the best sleep possible.
One big way to improve your sleep is by putting your phone on silent and out of your reach at least thirty minutes before bed.
We get it: the constant stream of cat videos and baby Yoda memes can be nearly irresistible. Social media streams are designed to keep you scrolling, but did you know your phone is disrupting your sleep in more than one way? The bright blue tones that radiate from your phone’s backlight can actually stimulate you and make you feel more awake. While most modern phones have a blue light filter that you can activate on a schedule, remember that the earlier you can put down your phone, the better.
Tip #2: Lay Off the Stimulants
TL;DR: Avoid drinking coffee in the afternoon and evening.
Coffee is the most popular psychoactive in the country. We consume over 3.5 billion—billion with a “b”—pounds of it annually in the United States. In fact, some of you reading this right now are probably sipping on a cup of Joe.
Coffee works by attaching to and blocking receptors that regulate how tired and sleepy we feel. Can you see where we are going with this? With caffeine blocking your adenosine receptors, your brain and body cannot regulate how tired you ought to feel... and that is what leads to lying awake in bed until 1:30 a.m. rehashing all of your past regrets and mistakes.
Stimulants are well and good if you need a pick-me-up in the early morning, but consuming them later in the day is only going to cause problems at bedtime.
Did you know that moderate doses of caffeine can be present in your system more than ten hours after consumption? The caffeine in that venti latte you had after lunch is still affecting you at bedtime regardless of whether you feel the energy buzz or not. Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol can also negatively affect your ability to get restful sleep, too. It is best to avoid all vices a few hours before bed if and when it is possible.
Tip #3: Exercising Isn’t Just for Looks
TL;DR: Exercise daily.
We all know exercise can lead to a much healthier lifestyle, but it is just so much work. Who really wants to run a 5K before clocking in every morning?
Here’s the thing: exercise in some form or fashion during the day can really help you fall asleep easier and deeper.
If you are not a morning person, it may be stressful to consider the thought of working out in the A.M.—but that is okay. You can still get the same great effects by exercising in the evening after work. Even low intensity exercise like yoga or calisthenics can help you achieve better sleep.
Because working out naturally releases chemicals in our bodies that can make us feel good and more alert, be sure to get your workout in a few hours before bedtime for the best results.
Tip #4: Create a Routine
TL;DR: Get into a bedtime routine.
Humans love a good routine. Habits—the good and bad—control the way we structure our days and nights, and controlling your bedtime habits and routines is an absolute must for better sleep hygiene.
One way to begin your sleep routine is by giving yourself time to unpack the day and wind down.
Oftentimes, thirty minutes of light reading or yoga can help get you into a better bedtime mood. To make transitioning to bedtime easier, switch to soft white light that is warm rather than cool and use the lowest intensity possible. Additionally, put your phone on silent and tuck it away. The act of performing these small rituals will eventually lead to habits, and the act of following your routine will naturally flip a switch in your mind and body that it is time to sleep.
Do not let poor sleep control your emotions, ruin your relationships, or deny you a good quality of life. You can use the information in this guide as a stepping stone to a happier and healthier lifestyle. Not tip presented may be possible or practical for you or your household, so try to find creative solutions to your unique problems. You have more control over your sleep than you might think—you just have to find methods and routines that work for you.