Don't Sleep on This...
During my new member assessments I always ask the question, "Do you get enough sleep?"
10 out of 6 times the answer is no.
We all know the cognitive and physical benefits of sleep so I won't lecture you with that. Instead, I want to share a routine that has helped me get more sleep AND increase the quality of that precious sleep.
Use the "Sleep Cycle" app
Sleep cycle analyzes your sleep by listening to your breathing while you sleep. In addition, it is an alarm clock with a MUCH more pleasant tone than the stock iPhone options.
Why I love it: When you turn the alarm off in the morning - BOOM - you're hit with your sleep data graph (pictured). Bringing awareness and data to the issue consistently is a great first step to making any change.
1 hour before you want to fall asleep set your alarm for and turn your phone upside down. The blue light that our devices give off is extremely disruptive to sleep. I also try to avoid TV, although I have found it soothing to watch an episode of The Office before bed. Find what works for you.
Unwind the Body and Mind
Use that 1 hour of screen-free time to release the physical and mental stressors of your day. 30 minutes of stretching and 30 minutes of reading helps me settle in and let go of the lingering stress inside and out.
Trouble Falling Asleep?
Take deep breaths. Don't worry about holding your breath or exhaling for a certain amount of seconds - just breathe deep in and out. As you breathe try a mantra - mine is "inhale positivity, exhale negativity". It works really well for me. I can't recall the last time this took me more than 1 minute to fall asleep using this technique.
Supplementation: Zinc and Magnesium (ZMA).
You'll find arguments both pro and con ZMA on the internet (just like anything else). Personally, I feel that it helps me increase sleep quality to the point where I really feel a difference in the morning. I'm also comfortable recommending it because it is a simple mineral compound.
If you've told yourself you need and want to get more sleep, use this to guide your actions to match your ambition.