Sleep is absolutely vital for cognitive and physical performance. There is no arguing this fact. In a world where the wannabe entrepreneur rules social media, you’d be forgiven for believing that sleep isn’t that important. You may have even heard from some douchey ‘hustler’ that you only need ‘like, four hours a night bro.’
Lies. Even Elon Musk has said that he’ll get more work done in a day if he has a good nights sleep, as opposed to sacrificing sleep for more time. A lack of sleep results in slow, foggy, and delirious thinking. It’s akin to being perpetually jet-lagged. Alternatively, learning to know our sleep rhythms and patterns can assist in becoming our best, most energetic versions of ourselves during the day. Here are some of the best tips on how to sleep well.
Silence Your Mind
The number one suspect for keeping people up at night and the opposite of how to sleep well is a busy mind.
‘Why did I say that stupid thing?’
‘How did I only get three reports done today?’
‘I can’t believe I didn’t work out.’
Over and over. Let it torture you long enough and you’ll be thinking of that time you embarrassed yourself in front of your crush in primary school. As long as you keep feeding that little voice, it will keep eating. The best way to silence this voice is to meditate right before bed – calming your breathing and mind. Here’s an extensive how-to I’ve done in the past.
Get the Temperature Just Right
Humans are creatures of comfort and there’s nothing more uncomfortable than a sweaty bed in the summer or freezing air in the winter. Find your physical happy place and you’ll quickly understand how to sleep well. No matter how tired, your body wasn’t designed to sleep in extreme temperatures. The money spot for room temperature is about 24 degrees Celsius, but some of the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had was under the constant stream of an air conditioner set to a frosty 18 degrees, with the covers pulled high.
Get a Good Bed
The most simple, obvious, and easy solution to how to sleep well. After years of share houses and crashing on couches, I used to be able to sleep anywhere. But my bones are growing weary and tired. I can now tell the difference between a good bed and a bad one and the difference it makes to my sleeping habits. Some people prefer firmer mattresses while other prefer the softer variety. Go to nearly any mattress outlet and sales reps will be dying to find a bed that’s ‘suited just for you.’
Be Greedy with Your Space
Isn’t it crazy that with all our modern delicacies and luxuries, most of us still choose to sleep two people to a bed? Humans are weird. The more you can flex and stretch your body, the more you can toss and turn through the night and be free from the constraint of a snoring partner. There’s nothing worse than politely tapping a loved one’s shoulder to wake them up just for you to be able to move your arm from out under their heavy head. The solution? You could start by limiting cuddle time. But the best bet is a king bed – the extra space will do the relationship wonders.
Pick a Sleeping Schedule and Stick to it
Learning how to sleep well depends almost entirely on this element. Humans exist through circadian rhythms – a 24-hour body clock that determines when we need to be up and, most importantly, when we should be down. As everyone who can no longer sleep in on weekends due to early morning weekday wake-ups would know, these rhythms can be manipulated. The most important part is that you pick a time and stick to it.
A vital step of picking this time is also determining how long your body needs to rest. 8 hours isn’t everyone’s magic number, but it certainly isn’t 4 hours either. The average is between 6-9. If you have the ability, try waking up after different lengths of time. E.g. 7 hours on Monday, 8 hours on Tuesday, 6 hours on Wednesday. More sleep may not necessarily equate to well-rested. I found 7.5 hours to be my personal sweet spot, going to sleep at 11:10 PM and waking at 6:40 AM. Half an hour either way and I’m just not the same man.