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Are you worried that you’re sleep deprived? Or are you just tired of being tired? This post describes 7 essential steps on how to go to bed earlier so that you can get more sleep.
Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.– Benjamin Franklin
A quote most of us have heard since we were kids. And yet, it’s the one thing a lot of us struggle to do. It seems that as we get older, going to bed early becomes a thing of the past.
If you’re anything like me, you tend to be ‘more productive at night’. Daytime zooms by, so you stay up way past 10 pm, working on projects, doing assignments, finishing up your chores.
And it all seems fine.
Yeah, you went to bed a little late, but look how much stuff you’ve accomplished! Now your rest is deserved. NOW, you can relax.
No, no, no.
Even if I’m guilty of this myself, it simply isn’t okay.
Of course, there may be times when you need to stay up late now and then. But continually depriving yourself of sleep isn’t just a bad habit.
It’s a dangerous one.
Why you should learn how to go to bed earlier
The benefits of sleep are seemingly endless, ranging from health benefits to beauty benefits.
Sleep is known to improve your memory, boost productivity, and make you an all-around healthier person.
So when you’re sacrificing sleep every night, you’re missing out on all that good stuff.
Related: How to have a good day, every day
You may feel fine, but your mind, body, and skin take a toll. Your mental health becomes vulnerable, you become more accident-prone, irritable, and moody and your productivity plummets.
And it gets worse! Your risk of getting heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s increase like crazy.
It’s frightening, isn’t it?
That’s definitely what I thought! And I don’t mean to scare you, but it’s the sad truth.
Sleep really is all that important.
How many hours of sleep do you need?
Maybe you’re thinking now about how much sleep you got last night.
Five, was it six hours? Surely that’s enough time, right??
SleepFoundation.org recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night.
And it’s not just that. The time you get that sleep also matters!
Sleep before midnight is the best, most restorative kind.
Think of it like this: You have to get yourself something to eat. You can buy a freshly made glazed donut from a small family-owned bakery where the food is always delicious. But you get there late and they’re sold out!
So now you have to get one of those prepackaged donuts from the supermarket. It tastes okay but it isn’t fresh and it has loads of preservatives which are bad for you.
So yeah… you ate… but it really wasn’t the same, was it?
Now think of sleep before midnight as that delicious fresh doughnut. Although you can sleep at any time you like, the quality of sleep before midnight is much better.
So now you know you’re not getting enough sleep AND you’re not even getting the best kind. What now??
Never fear! I’ve got you! Here’s how to sleep earlier:
1. Set a goal to go to bed earlier
The very first thing you need to do is to set a goal.
Ask yourself: What time would I like to go to bed?
The time you decide should be realistic but also one that allows you to get at least the minimum recommended number of hours every night.
For some, it may not be possible to go to bed at the same time every night. Maybe you have responsibilities only on some days of the week or have an unpredictable schedule. Either way, it’s still possible to get the sleep your body needs!
One handy app I use is Sleep Away (for Android devices). It allows you to see exactly how many hours of sleep you’ll get if you go to bed or wake up at a given time.
For instance, if you need to get up at 7:30 am, the app will show you what time you need to get into bed for as little as 1 hour and 30 minutes to as much as 9 hours of sleep.
And if you’re going to bed at 10:30pm, it’ll show what time you need to wake up at to get the same number of hours.
You can also set an alarm to remind you when it’s time to get into bed.
If you can go to bed at the same time every day, that’s great! Pick a good time and try to stick to it.
2. Make your bed
This second tip starts in the morning, right after you wake up. Fix your sheets and fluff your pillows — erase any signs that you slept on your bed!
Making your bed has not only been proven to make you more productive during the day, it will also help you get into bed earlier. Here’s how:
By making your bed, you’ll make it look way more comfy and inviting so when bedtime comes around it’s the only place you’ll want to be! (Say good bye to accidentally falling asleep the couch!).
You’ll also save some extra minutes at bedtime since you won’t have to worry about clearing your bed before you sleep.
This simple task takes five minutes at most but will help get you into bed much earlier.
We all know that exercise has loads of benefits.
It keeps you fit and in shape, boosts your mood, and improves your focus. It’ll also get you into bed earlier!
Exercising during the day* will make you more tired at night and prompt you to get into bed! You’ll look forward to resting your body rather than staying up for no good reason.
4. Create a practical bedtime routine
Emphasis on practical.
It’s easy to think of a ‘dream’ routine with too many tasks that seem ‘nice’ but are impossible to complete every day. You’ll eventually burn out!
Here’s how to create a routine that’s practical and doable:
Create a list of all the things you have to do before bed.
I don’t mean the other things on your to-do list. I mean the tasks that you do in preparation for bed. For example, some tasks I need to complete before bed are taking a shower, brushing my teeth, and praying.
What are the things you don’t go to bed without doing? Write all those down.
The next step is to do some self-observation.
Take a night to time yourself as you complete these tasks. Write down the time you take for each task. Add the times to create a total.
Now you know what you need to do and how long it takes you. That’s your routine!
5. Give yourself time
Now that you’ve established your bedtime routine you know exactly how much time you need to get ready for bed.
Maybe it’s 30 mins for you, maybe it’s an hour.
Either way, you need to give yourself enough time to do your routine before it’s time to go to sleep.
So, if your goal is to get into bed by 10 pm and your routine takes an hour, there’s no way you can start getting ready at 9:30!
You’ll end up having to leave things out of your routine, or, more than likely, you’ll end up going to bed long after your bed time.
To avoid such problems, set an alarm to remind you when it’s time to start getting ready.
If your routine takes an hour and you’re aiming to be in bed by 10 pm, your alarm should go off at 9 pm for the latest.
You can even add 15 minutes, just in case you experience any delays in stopping your work for the night. For instance, you may get an unexpected call or find that it’s taking longer than expected to save your work.
Whatever it is, these extra 15 minutes will reduce any stress if you’re running a little late.
Yes, you read that right.
‘Procrastinate’ is just my fancy way of saying this: don’t do today what you can do tomorrow.
Yes! You read that right again!
No need to get your eyes checked.
There’s a time for everything.
And yes, I know tomorrow isn’t promised, but it’s perfectly fine to stop your work at your bedtime and head in for a well-deserved rest.
Of course, you’ll have deadlines to meet on some days and need to stay up, but this won’t be a daily thing. In fact, you’ll find that you’re able to work a lot better after a good night’s rest.
If you find yourself remembering everything you have to do just when it’s time for bed, here’s a tip: get a notebook or paper and write down everything that comes to mind. To do this I use a whiteboard that saves space and can be easily erased the next day.
By recording those things that come to mind you don’t have to worry about forgetting, and you can tackle these tasks the next day.
7. Make it a habit
My last tip is to make it a habit!
It won’t matter to your mind or body if you only go to bed early now and then. Sleep can’t be saved up — you have to get your fair share every day.
Use a habit tracker to help make going to bed early a habit. Click the link below to get a free copy of my weekly habit tracker!
As we get older, it seems like we get less and less sleep.
We may think we’re being more productive by staying up late, but our health, mind, and productivity are suffering as a result.
The benefits of sleep are endless, but you can only enjoy them fully by getting enough sleep and at the right time. By following these 7 essential tips, you’ll find it much easier to go to bed earlier every night!
Going to bed earlier may be a habit that is difficult to start, but once you get going, you’ll find that it’s definitely worth it.
What time will you go to bed tonight? Let me know in the comments!