Hopefully, the importance of sleep and how it impacts your physical and mental well-being is becoming clear.  With that being said, you need to make sleep a priority.  Think about how much better you will feel, and what you can accomplish if you work on improving your sleep.

Here are some tips on how to learn to prioritize your sleep, and how to get to bed at a reasonable hour:

1. Establish a bedtime routine 

Just like children benefit from routines, so do adults. It is beneficial to create a routine where you start getting ready at least an hour before lights out.  This may include having a bath (not too hot though as this will impede falling asleep), getting into your pajamas, having a light snack, and reading a book.

2. Set up a pleasant atmosphere  

You want to set up your bedroom so that it is cozy, and so that you enjoy retreating to it at the end of a busy day. Pay attention to the colors of your walls.  Choose calming, soothing paint colors such as soft grays, lavender, or sage.  Set up a lamp with a soft yellow or red light.  Avoid lights that emit blue wavelengths(Read 7 Ways to Avoid the Blue Light).  Decorate your walls in such a way that it adds to the beauty of the room.

3. Recognize the difference between being busy and being productive

Have you ever found yourself wasting time at the end of the day, because you are tired, but it feels like it is too early to go to bed? For example, you might be surfing the internet or checking your emails for the 15th time that day, but you aren’t doing anything productive.  Instead, you are just keeping yourself busy.  Learn to recognize when you are doing this, so that you can spend your time more wisely, and you don’t steal time from your bedtime routine.

4. Remind yourself of this saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” 

When you look around your house at the end of the day, you can always find something else to do before you head off to bed – dirty dishes in the sink, crumbs on the floor that need to be swept, or another email waiting to be answered. This is never going to change.  Realize that there will always be things that don’t get done in a day and that you can start fresh the next day after a good night of sleep.

5. Avoid emotional and financial conversations before bedtime 

Evenings are not a good time to be having difficult conversations with friends or family. Talking about your financial situation, such as your outstanding credit card balance, should also not be done before bedtime.  Instead, these conversations, including texts and emails, should be reserved for daytime when you have the energy, and when they are not going to cause you extra stress right before it is time to fall asleep.

If your sleep does not improve, no matter what you try, you should speak to your doctor as there could be underlying medical or psychological problems.


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