We all have a finite amount of willpower. A solution to conserving willpower is to create solid routines to ritualize positive behaviours, thus reducing the number of decisions we need to make throughout the day. Having a morning smoothie, meditating, morning yoga or pushups, or walking the dog are great examples.
One critical area that benefits from routine is sleep. Sleep has become a main area of focus for quickly improving our health. It’s foundational for vitality and health. Think of improving our sleep as the leveling up of every other focus for a positive lifestyle, namely, fitness, nutrition, stress, mental health, etc.
With daylight savings time ending for most North Americans this week, it’s a good time to stress test our sleep routine to ensure we suffer as little as possible during this transition.
Although this time change is only an hour, it affects us in profound ways. A study published in Current Biology from the University of Boulder showed that traffic incidents increased by six percent the week after the time change.
The good news is that it’s only an hour, so within a day or two we get back to normal. To effect the change most quickly it’s recommended to stick to your normal sleep timing as much as possible. This time change also creates an opportunity to audit our overall sleep routine and tighten up any loose ends.
Here are a few key habits to give yourself the best chance of a good sleep;
1. Avoid eating 3 hours before bed: digestion ramps up our metabolism preventing our heart rate from settling to its rest a rebuild state, negatively affecting our quality of sleep. This goes for drinking late night alcohol as well
2. Eliminate noise in your sleep environment: think of any pollution for your senses as a potential sleep saboteur. Be sure to black out your room, put your phone on airplane mode or leave it in the living room, and avoid noises.
3. Lower the room temperature: our body temperature drops during the evening, so dropping the temperature at night mimics this change and promotes a deeper sleep
4. Lights out before bed: bright lights supress the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Dim the lights or even read by candlelight within 90-minutes of going to sleep
And when in doubt…
Pause. Breathe, And Quiet the NOISE.