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How to Sleep

pazyp profile image Andrew Pazikas ・4 min read

If you are reading this many of you like myself work in the Technology industry, even if you don't the tips here apply to all.

To many of you sleep will be difficult this is understandable as most of us stare at a screen for 11+ hours per day be it at work, on phone/tablet or even during downtime periods I am playing computer games or diving into some of my programming side projects always infront of a screen. About 2 years ago I purchased an Oura ring [https://ouraring.com/] and have been tracking my sleep ever since, I have gone from having a lot of sleep problems to getting more or less a good nights sleep. My sleep journey isn't over yet but the progression I've made so far has been like a dream come true :). This article aims to outline some of the best changes you can make to your life to get better sleep.

1. Sleep Hygiene

Sleep Hygiene is your nightly pre-bedtime routine you should develop one and stick to it, it doesn't need to be anything complex for me 1 hour before bed a notification pings on my phone to start my "Sleep Hygiene" routine, I take 10 minutes to finish up what I was doing and begin my routine.

1.1 Digital Download

Use a note taking/journaling app (I use Evernote [https://evernote.com/]) to download all the ideas from your mind onto "paper" anything that's in your head swimming around get it jotted down, I have notes for "To-dos", "ideas", "strange questions", "look it up later", "must read" and "when you are bored". Just consciously make an effort to write down everything that is in your head to "download" those thoughts onto paper so they are stored for later reference, this helps clear you brain so your when it comes to bed time you aren't worrying about remembering X or Y things as its all written down, you can rest peacefully in the comfort of knowing that when I look at the notes taken the night before I will remember what I was thinking to action as approprite.

1.1 Put You Phone Down!

Phones specifically phone screens are bad, put your phone down at least 1 hour before bed (after your digital download), if you cant stop looking go put your phone in another room (on silent) and you will soon forget about it.

1.2 Read a book

Studies show fiction is best for helping you mind relax and unwind, I am not so rigid I am normally reading a couple of books at anyone time and I pickup whatever is taking my fancy there and then whether its fiction or non.

1.3 Brush your teeth

Its just good hygiene and your dentist will appreciate it.

1.4 Meditate

This is a new addition to my sleep routine there are a number of meditation apps that have specific sections for helping you drift off. At the moment I am trying Calm [www.calm.com], it seems to be adding benefit but its to early to say categorically that it has improved my sleep, but I am enjoying it so I will likely keep it up.

3. Caffeine

Avoid it! I know you love it but its pretty much the enemy of sleep, try and have your last caffeinated drink around 2-3PM in the afternoon and stick strictly to non-caffeinated drinks from then on. If you enjoy a warm drink before bed try something like peppermint of camomile tea to help you drift off.

2. Bed Time

A set bedtime is important our bodies run off an internal clock knowing when to eat, sleep, rave :?, repeat. Sticking to a set bedtime gets your body into the habit of knowing when its sleepy time. I head to bed around 10:45PM-ish with the aim of be on my way to dream land (after some meditation) by 11:15PM-ish. Your wake up time should dictate your bed time, the number of sleep cycles you complete per-night dictates how rested you feel the next day, its a large topic and worth reading about but for the finding a bedtime use [https://sleepyti.me/] to find the right time for you.

3. Journal

Relates back to the digital download but I keep a sleep journal, every morning after breakfast I write down a couple of lines on how I slept and how quickly I felt I fell asleep. Having a sleep journal is great it allows you to look back and work out what is working for you and what isn't.

4. Give it Time

Moving from having mostly bad sleep to getting good sleep its not an overnight quick fix, but something to be worked one, tweaked and nourished, hey I am not even there yet after almost 2 years of actively trying to improve my sleep.

To wrap it this up over the last 2 years I have gone from having a pretty terrible relationship with sleep to generally getting a good sleep, I still want more but I am defiantly and an acceptable level. If I were to rate my sleep before I started this journey I would say 35/100 I had great difficulty getting to sleep often tossing and turning for what felt like hours, once I was asleep I would regularly wake up multiple times though the night then struggle to fall asleep again, all of this left me feeling pretty terrible and under slept. After deciding to do something about it today I would rate my sleep around 80/100 I do on occasion still find it difficult to fall asleep sometimes when I have changed my "Sleep Hygiene" routine slightly. But once asleep I am down for the whole night until I wake in the morning.

Let me know in the comments below your sleep stories and tips/ideas for getting to sleep.

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Andrew Pazikas

@pazyp

Database Engineer working on Automation

Discussion

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Thanks for posting this. It makes me feel, well, just that bit more human.

I have had periods over the last 10 years (since I started coding) where sleep has been difficult. The past 4 weeks have been extremely bad (work stresses, learning new content, dare I say covid isolation) where I have nearly been alternating between 0 hrs to 7 hrs. I have now gotten into a bad habit and I am finding extremely hard to break that cycle.

I will take some of your lessons and add it to my playbook. Anything to help me start to feel human again :)

 

Small steps, find something that works and continue, its taken me almost 2 years to build a working "pre-bedtime" routine and the journey will continue onwards until I feel 100% happy that I am sleeping well everynight.