In the spirit of 2014: The Year of the Enumerated List, I’ve dedicated this post to bettering your sleep habits. Lately, I’ve been finding I have trouble sleeping. Summertime is here, and my schedule is about as flexible as it gets. If I want to wake up at 4 and bust out 7 rounds of cross-fit, I can. If I want to sleep until 4 in the afternoon, get up only to fuel myself and use the bathroom, I can. This kind of freedom is that I haven’t seen the likes of since…since…middle school?
I’ve noticed this lack-of-a-daily-routine is getting to me, and it’s only been 1 week of vacation. So, in my ever-vigilant mode of constant self improvement, I’ve devised a list of “no-no’s” for my bedroom.
This rule can (and does) get frequently broken, however, I’ve noticed progress. Not bringing my electronics into my bedroom forces me to save the endless internet page-hopping in search of that one more list that will ultimately make me a better human, not when I should be sleeping.
2. Overhead lighting And for that matter, limited natural lighting.
No overhead lighting means my bedroom is a dark oasis reserved for my dim reading light only. I installed blackout curtains on my windows (which are, incidentally, wider than I am tall). I wasn’t able to install the curtains to completely block out 100% of the outside lighting, because like I said, the windows are massive…in a very quaint, I was built in the 20’s and I add so much more charm kind of a way. I noticed this keeps my bedroom so much cooler and also reduces some of the traffic noise (yet not the wailing sirens that fly by into the midnight hour…), which is an additional bonus. And the other other bonus? Save on electricity by never using those lights 😉
3. Beds are for naps and snooze-fests…and reading
I don’t “hang out” on my bed. I don’t use it as a couch/lounging area. I don’t flop down and check my phone. Flopping is for flips. My bed is where I rest and replenish myself, or where I use literature to get me there. If my eyes aren’t closed, I’m in the other room.
4. Use a traditional alarm
This might sound silly, and this is also going to be a slight promotion for one of my favorite inventions, but I don’t use an auditory alarm anymore. I use my FitBit Flex‘s silent alarm to wake me up. This is seriously the best thing I have discovered in my short 23 years thus-far. The alarm vibrates on your wrist in a pattern, while flashing the cute, little lights on it’s display. It kind of reminds me of a pet who wants to play and is licking your face excitedly, saying Mama! Mama! Mama! Wake up and pay attention to me!!! Okay, maybe it’s just the weirdo in me, but when your landlady charges $250 a month per pet, you have to make-do.
To most of the world, this is horrible and disgusting, but to me, it’s a leftover dorm room habit. When you live in the college dorms, your bed is your couch/lounging area/picnic table/desk. When I got to graduate school, this habit didn’t die. When I moved back home for externships, this habit was scornfully unacceptable to my mother. When I moved out on my own, my mother wasn’t with me. I have (thankfully) kicked this habit for good.
6. Cell phone
Okay, I’m still working on this one…but I just deleted the last barrier from keeping my phone out of my bed, the SleepTracker app, in favor of using my FitBit for 100% of my sleep-tracking. Now, I have no more excuses. We’ll see how this one works…
What helps you fall asleep?