As a kid who liked to sleep a lot but hated to sleep on time, I really wished primary school was in the evening. The next thing I know, my wish came true — I was doing online classes from India with my college in the United States. For anyone who's unfamiliar with this calculation — that's night school from 8 pm to 2 am. Switching off after 2 am seemed like a task after actively using my mind just before — for "study from home" sessions.
If you find it hard to switch off at night and sleep on time, here are the six tools that actually worked for me — with some of them borrowed from the #1 sleep book I recommend "Why we sleep?".
NOTE: This is not a guaranteed "get sleep earlier" scheme but just information that actually helped me sleep earlier on a consistent basis at a time when it wasn't easy to do so.
🚿 Take a bath with warm water
I always used to find myself urging to have a bath with hot water before sleeping in college. But it wasn't until I read "Why we sleep?" that I realized the science behind it. According to esteemed sleep scientist Matthew Walker, having a bath with hot water reduces our core body temperature — helping us to sleep by relaxing our body.
🔌 Lower the temperature of the Thermostat or AC
The second thing that really worked for me was lowering the temperature of my room. The optimum temperature that encourages a good night's sleep is about 18 Degrees C / 65 Degrees F. Lower the temperature of the thermostat and see the wonders that can do!
👨💻❌ Limit technology products before sleeping
According to Matthew Walker, one should limit screen time exposure one hour prior to sleeping.
I find this to be the hardest tool to implement by far. At first, I felt Netflix and other online content would actually help me sleep faster by helping me disconnect. But it was when I read "Why we Sleep? " that I realized that digital content:
🙈Distracts our monkey mind by exposing it to a lot of digital information (giving us a feeling that it's relaxing our mind)
🏃But paradoxically, it makes our mind more active — making it harder to sleep afterwards.
⚡The blue light emitted by our devices inhibits the production of melatonin which is a sleep-promoting hormone.
How do I try to sensibly interact with technology before I sleep?
🌒 Enabling Nightshift and Night mode on my devices to limit blue light exposure.
📚 Reading before sleeping as a wind-down activity.
The headspace winding-down meditations are the best out there! They really help me disconnect from the day and slow down — encouraging me to sleep.
Consistent mindfulness meditation (10 minutes a day) is possibly the best sleep tip that will work for you if all else doesn't.
Switching off or dimming the lights before sleeping is an excellent way to signal our brains that it's time to sleep. My girlfriend uses a bedside lamp which seems to really work for her.
Staying away from the bed before sleeping
Another very important hack that's worked for me is to actually stay away from my bed before starting to wind down before sleeping. I noticed that whenever I spent too much time on my bed — either working, browsing, or watching videos — it was harder to fall asleep.