Congratulations to all of you who have decided to take the Verlo Sleep Challenge! By sleeping more and better, you are giving yourself a fighting chance of accomplishing the top New Year’s resolutions, such as saving money, getting healthy, losing weight, exercising more and being more productive.
Now all you have to do is sleep more.
Easy peasy, right? You’ve been doing it all your life; you know how to do this. But, do you? You may not have been practicing good sleep hygiene and as a result, you’ve developed sleep routines that are hard to change. How do you start? Baby steps.
Small Steps Lead to Big Changes
Lifestyle blogger Michael Masterson posted about how he was inspired by the book “One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way,” in which the author tells of losing 45 pounds in 18 months by taking tiny steps, i.e., eating one French fry less one day, then two fries less, then three, etc., cutting out more calories from his diet incrementally.
As much as our society loves immediate gratification, the key to making lasting behavior changes is to set small goals and take things one step at a time, according to the American Psychological Association.
So, if you want to change your life by getting more and better sleep, start by going to bed 15 minutes early this week.
4 Tips for Going to Bed Earlier
In order to go make yourself hit the hay even 15 minutes earlier, you’ll have to modify your bedtime routine. Here are some things you can do:
- Prep for bed earlier. Take off your makeup, wash your face and brush your teeth a couple of hours after dinner. Put your pajamas on. Doing this breaks down barriers to going to bed on time. You’ll be ready to slip into bed when you're tired.
- Set an alarm to go to sleep. It sounds weird, but an alarm can serve as a good reminder to wrap it up in case you get engrossed in an activity.
- Set a shutoff time for your electronics. You don’t have to go sleep at this time, you just have to stop using electronic devices. This will give you time to unwind for bed by doing less stimulating things, like reading a book or magazine.
- Go to bed before you think you’re tired. How many times have you fallen asleep on the couch because you “weren’t tired” so you decided to watch some TV? Don’t wait until you are so tired that your eyes are crossing before heading to bed. Your body is probably more tired than you know, and it just needs you to give in and go to bed.
Add 5 Minutes Incrementally
After going to bed 15 minutes earlier, chances are you’ll realize doing it wasn’t really that difficult. And the success of achieving that small goal will motivate you to up the ante. The next night – or even the next week – try adding five more minutes so you’re going to bed 20 minutes earlier. Continue increasing the amount of sleep you get until you reach the 7-8 hours of sleep that you need.
By doing this in small intervals, you’ll hardly miss the time you lose in the evening, but you definitely will notice how much better you feel in the morning.
Stay tuned for more tips and advice to help you with the Verlo Sleep Challenge.