For those of you who accepted the Verlo Sleep Challenge, this should be your second week of trying to get more sleep so that you can feel better, get healthier and supercharge your New Year’s resolutions.
Last week, we challenged you to go to bed 15 minutes earlier and increase that amount by five minutes each night so by now, many of you are going to bed 50 minutes earlier than your normal bedtime.
How’s it going?
We’re guessing that now that you're going to bed almost an hour earlier, you may have begun having trouble falling alseep. That’s okay! You’re asking your body to do something it’s not used to doing, and it’s perfectly normal to go through an adjustment phase.
If you are finding yourself lying awake and worrying that you aren’t falling asleep as quickly or as easily as you used to, try these tips instead of feeling anxious:
Turn the clock away from you.
If you’re continually checking the clock and calculating how much time you’ll have left to sleep as the minutes tick, you’re making yourself anxious and setting yourself up for insomnia. As Sharon O’Brien, a clinical sleep specialist wrote in her Watching the Clock Can Worsen Insomnia article, “Watching the clock is a huge detriment to sleep.”
In addition, the light emitting from your clock could be contributing to the problem.
Give yourself buffer time.
Going to bed even earlier can help by allowing you more time to fall asleep. Knowing that you have the additional time can make you feel less anxious if you aren't able to fall asleep right away. It’s like leaving for the airport an hour earlier to allow for traffic or trouble parking; it reduces your stress level.
As much as you’d love to curl up and take a nap if you’ve had trouble falling asleep the previous night, the National Sleep Foundation says not to do it. You’re trying to create a new sleep schedule, and taking a nap – however desperately you want one – will throw off that schedule and perpetuate the problem.
Change it up.
Try lying with your head at the foot of the bed, or moving to a guest bed, if possible. Sometimes, just changing your orientation or environment can be enough to help break your cycle of sleeplessness.
It’s important not to get discouraged. Like any new behavior, developing a new sleep habit takes time. In fact, a study found it takes approximately 66 days for a new habit to form. So give yourself time and keep practicing good sleep hygiene. Soon getting seven to eight hours of sleep will be your norm – and you’ll be feeling better and living better because of it.
Let us know how the Verlo Sleep Challenge is working for you! (And by the way, it isn't too late to start improving your life by getting more sleep).