Maybe you worry too much. Maybe you’re in the habit of watching adventure or crime movies at nighttime, making you way too excited for sleep. Or maybe you just looove sleeping in, at the expense of getting your butt early to bed.
For sure, I am a victim of all these. I bring my worries about work, about the future, about life with me to bed because that’s when I have time to think about it. I get stuck in front of my computer screen or iPad late at night although I know the blue light is a total killer for sleep. And I do not want to get up in the morning, especially when it is dark and rainy outside.
It makes you cranky and impatient.
It increases risks for cardio-vascular disease.
It makes you unfocused.
It decreases your memory capacity.
It weakens your immune defense system.
It decreases your metabolism and ability to regulate your appetite.
In short, it’s a killer for your health and, maybe surprisingly, the most common “disease” of our time.
#sleepchallenge February 15-March 17, 2015
So, because I am totally guilty of bad sleeping habits and sick of it, I am joining a sleep challenge initiated by Steinaldermannen (the “Stonageman” in Norwegian) Eyvind Stueland. It implies testing seven tips for better sleep daily for 30 days, starting February 15 as a means to integrate a better sleeping routine. If you want, you can share your experiences through social media using #sleepchallenge and #steinaldermannpodcast, the idea being that by sharing our challenges we might be able handle them better. His webpage is in Norwegian but I have summed up his tips here in case some non-Norwegian speakers would care to join.
P.S. For Norwegian speakers, check out this post by Bergljot Rosvoll on how to get rid of bad habits and make the seven tips stay.
If you have to get up with the sun, then plan your evening so that you can get your bum earlier to bed.
2. Don’t snooze in the morning.
Upon waking up, get out of bed straight away. Drink some water (hot or cold) to get your system flowing and do something to activate your body. Eyvind mentioned handstand and crunches on the floor while the waiting for the coffee to brew. Takes you two min, max! And if possible, keep your phone shut off during your morning routine. Facebook and e-mail can wait.
4. Don’t do hard exercise late in the evening.
It’s stimulating; try yoga or exercises that calm you down instead.
5. Avoid heavy meals within two hours before bedtime.
For the body to rest, your tummy and digestive system needs to calm down. Heavy food will only make it more active and create more energy in the body which is what you want to avoid when going to bed.
6. Shut off artificial lights two hours before going to bed.
Computer, iPad, TV, phone etc. mess up the production of the hormone metanin which we need for sleep. Put them away. If you have problems with too much thinking, write your thoughts down. If you’re worried or stressed about tomorrow, plan your day the evening before. Get your thoughts out of your head and body and onto a paper. It may help with thinking less.
7. Your bed is your sleeping sanctuary. Honour it!
Keep your bedroom dark and fresh. If it’s too warm or too light it may hinder your sleep. And if you can “save” this room for sleep, and sleep only (don’t bring work, food etc. to bed), that’s super. The fewer distractions the better.
But oh, there’s one activity that is allowed, of course: and here’s Things I would like to do with you in my Bed beneath the Ocean in case you’re lacking inspiration…
Good luck! May you have a wonderful, wonderful 30 days (hopefully more) of sleep!
Author: Katinka Sætersdal Remøe
Editor: Travis May