We all love the bliss that is a good night’s rest and for many, it’s near-torture to be awoken by an early morning alarm clock. And if we love to sleep so much, why is it such a challenge for us to get to bed at a reasonable time? We prioritize our work, family, exercise, hobbies and yet sleep still seems to be the last thing on the list when it comes to importance. If you’ve had a busy day, you likely want to sit back, relax, stream your favorite show, read a good book or just enjoy a window of time where you aren’t expected to do much of anything.
And while you probably deserve this much needed time to unwind, you could be significantly affecting your overall wellbeing with an unhealthy amount of adequate sleep.
If you just can’t seem to get to bed early enough, you’re not alone. But you can retrain yourself and tweak your usual habits so you can get yourself under the covers early enough to wake up refreshed and ready to take on another day. And it’s not that you don’t know the importance or understand the value of a good night’s rest, but one thing leads to another and your good intention of getting to sleep early has gone by the wayside.
What exactly is the problem, and how can you fix it? It’s called “bedtime procrastination” and there are a variety of reasons this takes place. Here are a few that may ring familiar:
You Didn’t Accomplish Enough for the Day
Listen, there are only 24 hours in a day and frankly 8 of those should be spent sleeping to give you the proper restoration your body needs to thrive at its best. And if you aren’t getting enough rest each night, you might be sluggish throughout the day and unable to perform all the tasks you need done. It’s a vicious cycle.
You Need Much Deserved “Me Time”
And do you ever! If you’re working full-time, taking care of children, getting in enough exercise, running errands and doing all the other things life requires, you may feel entitled to a little extra time at the end of the day. Unfortunately, this might be time that you just don’t have to spend. And your priority should be on sleep, where you truly get the best “me time.”
You’re Ignoring Signals Your Body Needs Rest
With the growing age of technology, we can now Netflix at our leisure, check emails from a handheld device or get wrapped up in social media without even pausing to wonder what time it is. It’s a delay tactic you may not be aware of when you are so entrenched in technology. If you’re yawning, your eyes are burning and your body feels heavy – these are indicators to pay attention to.
So, what can you do? You may be guilty of one or more of the delay tactics above, but with a little restructuring, you can get yourself to bed on time, on purpose and reap in the much-needed rest you know you deserve.
What To Do About It:
- Reduce Light and Noise Exposure
Your internal clock tells you when to go to bed based on the melatonin you begin to produce at night. However, if you’re exposing yourself to blue light emitting from a tech device, your retinas get confused and your melatonin slows down. Also, if your body is tired but keeps getting stirred from too much noise or activity, it’s not sure what to do. You can put the phone down, you can turn the television off and you can read a few chapters of a good book to prime your body for bed. If you need to invest in dark curtains, an eye mask or earplugs, so be it!
- Stick to Your Intention and Avoid Distractions
As with most things in life, a plan can help set you up for success. If you’ve got a little extra work to do, give yourself a time limit. Literally set an alarm on your phone if you must. If you intend to have dinner at a certain time, make every effort to keep your punctuality.
And if the end of the day comes sooner than you hoped, have some willpower and adjust your environment so you won’t be tempted to stray from the plan. Plug your phone in across the room. Put your remote somewhere inconvenient. Realize your distractions before they happen and have another plan for dealing with those.
- Make it Known
Sometimes all it takes is communicating to your partner, your friends or your children that you have a set bedtime and it won’t be delayed. When you can have your support system not only understand your commitment to sleep, but also hold you accountable, you can be much more successful. If there is someone you’re texting late at night, or if they see you online past the set “bedtime” it can be helpful for them to remind you of your intention to get to bed earlier.
- Pamper Yourself
Allow yourself to have a pre-bedtime ritual that will be conducive to helping your body relax to the point where the thought of sleep seems like a treat. You can use aromatherapy, relaxing music, a nightly bath, dimmer bulbs. Whatever it requires for you to feel peaceful and relaxed, allow this to be your part of your schedule and before you know it, your lids will be drooping.
You know you need sleep. You know from experience that a good night of sleep helps you feel more energized and happier the following day. So, don’t deprive yourself of one of the things your body needs most. Your body will function better, you’ll be more productive and you may notice a huge uplifting in your mood.
There are many benefits to getting to bed earlier, it just takes a few adjustments to your routine. And you don’t have to do a complete overhaul at once. Maybe implement one or two techniques at a time so your body gradually starts to adapt and help you on your way to peaceful sleep.