Why is Sleep so Important?
Not long ago, I finished Master’s in Business at one of the top 60 world universities.
In the meantime, I started a multi-million start-up, took care of my long-distant relationship and besides all, I had enough time for going to the gym, partying, reading my favorite books, and even watching movies.
Nope, I’m not a genius and neither you have to be to achieve similar results.
What you have to do is to optimize your performance and productivity.
And this starts with optimizing your sleep (or as I like to call it – sleep hacking). Sleep is the foundation of your productivity, and without proper sleep, you will be less productive and consequently, less successful.
After years of studying how to improve personal productivity, I have decided to share with you my top tricks & tips that work.
The good thing is that I won’t tell you to quit partying, going on dinners, or watching your favorite movies.
However, what I will tell you is to put sleep a bit higher on your priority list.
Well, because lack of sleep contributes to weight gain and even obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Moreover, it makes you less alert, concentrated, and slower at problem-solving.
Staying up late doesn’t sound so efficient anymore, right?
Instead of feeling like a zombie, you can learn these simple hacks and sleep better.
That’s how you will quickly deal with your daily activities.
But how can you really do it?
Let me tell you right away.
Relax Before Sleep
I know, relaxing before sleep sounds easy, but we still have a problem following this strategy in our daily routine.
It is especially hard to de-stress while working on different projects with tight due dates etc. Anyhow, you should find a way to take some time off.
Try to find at least 10 minutes a day to close your eyes and turn the world off. It will help you be more productive, happy, and motivated.
You need to establish a calming routine before sleep and prepare your brain to recharge overnight properly.
You can de-stress in several different ways, such as:
- take a warm bath
- use etheric oils (especially lavender)
- meditate (this app can help you out)
- pray (if you are religious)
- do yoga
- listen to calming music (I love this playlist)
- listen to ebooks
- read (with dimmed lights of course – I do recommend reading sci-fi or some novels instead of a more a difficult book)
- drink peppermint tea (at least 1 hour before sleep)
- pursue a hobby such as writing, drawing, and painting
Pick and practice whatever suits you best.
What I usually do is I’m reading a lot, I like listening to relaxing music, I love meditating, and of course, I cannot live without warm baths with etheric oils.
Turn Off All Your Electronic Devices
…at least one hour before sleep.
Well, smartphones and basically all other electronic devices with a screen radiate blue light which sends messages to your brain to stay awake.
You can partially decrease blue light with apps such as f.lux that can adjust the lighting on your screen.
But if you manage to turn off all your devices before sleep, the effect will be even better.
Turning off all your electronic devices has at least two significant advantages:
Firstly, your sleep will improve.
And secondly, you won’t fall into the “Social Media Loop.”
Oh, what is a Social Media Loop?
Like you don’t know…
The term is used for the countless minutes (or even hours) people spend on scrolling through Facebook, then checking Instagram a bit, watching a video on YouTube, and then feeling the need to check Facebook Newsfeed again, quickly answering to a few e-mails in between social media sessions, returning to Facebook to wish a happy birthday to a “friend” and so on.
We’ve all been there, right?
Don’t worry, just try to stay away from this bad habit, that makes you unproductive, stressed, and results in you falling asleep later than you should.
Because this will crash your whole productivity circle.
And that’s the last thing you want.
Establish a Decent Sleep Environment
It sounds funny, but imagine sleeping in a small, stuffed room with Christmas lights all over, on a bed that has some leftovers from lunch on it, together with 3 cats in their mating period.
Don’t forget the uncomfortable pillow and a loud crying baby in the room next to you.
As you can imagine, a great (or at least a decent) sleep environment can improve the quality of your sleep.
You may be limited with space, and you can’t really tell your roommate to shut up already, but you can do other small changes that will have a big impact on the quality of your sleep.
Here are my top 3 tips:
- Dimm the lights down. Help your brain realize it’s time to go to sleep with dimming down the lights 1-2 hours before bedtime. Most modern lights can be dimmed down with a special switch, but you can also improvise with a lamp that has a 15WAT lightbulb or yellow fairy lights that don’t pulsate. Yellow light is going to be your friend in the evenings.
P.s. A sleep mask can help as well
- Optimize your room temperature. Another important factor that we frequently overlook is the temperature of the room. It should be between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit (15-20 degrees Celsius) or at 5 – 10 F/C lower than your average daily temperature.
- Avoid loud environments. Since you can’t escape the bus station or a bar near your house/apartment, you can try to ignore all the sound. Easy to say, harder to do, but it is possible with earplugs. This always works.
If you take care of those three points, you set-up almost perfect conditions for a great sleep.
What follows next?
Be Consistent With Your Sleeping Regime
How many times have you already heard this tip?
Now, once you have a steady job, being consistent with your sleeping regime is much, much easier.
But what if that’s not true for you?
Well, you can still pretty much follow your sleeping regime (even though you are a party king).
Here is the trick – sleeping regime doesn’t mean you have to go to bed every night at the same time (even though this would be beneficial for you).
It means that you have to wake up at the same time every day.
So when you go out, have fun, stay up late, and enjoy a great party. But try to wake up early and be active like on all the other “normal” days.
Sometimes this will be impossible (I know, I’ve been there), but on most days, this shouldn’t be a problem at all.
A regime of waking up at approximately the same time every day helps you to sleep much better. Your brain will thank you later with extra focus and motivation.
Being consistent with your everyday schedule will help you with other things too. You will be more productive and calm.
That’s why it is important to rethink your daily routine and do some restructuring.
Rethink Your Bed
First thing first, reserve your bed for relaxation.
Make it a temple of calmness. Do not eat, study, sit on it, or watch TV (or Netflix for that matter) on your bed.
Save your bed for sleep and sex. It will help you distinguish between work and relax »mode.«
I know some of you enjoy a messy environment or enjoy the laziness behind it, but try to tidy your bed.
When you go to bed in the evening, it will be easier for you to brush the world aside if there isn’t a pile of books, reminding you of 276 pages you have to go through before your exam (or whatever else you are reading).
Add blankets and pillows or remove them, whatever suits you best. Your bed should be a comfortable place for you to relax in.
If it means pulling your favorite teddy bear out of the closet, then be it. You can hide him when friends come over.
Make sure your pillow is not too soft or too hard and offers you great support for your neck. A simple test to see if you are keeping the pillow your mother bought you a while ago is lying on your back, looking up.
If your nose is pointed directly at the ceiling (without you trying to compromise its position), the pillow is staying.
This doesn’t sound too challenging, right?
Take a Good Old Power Nap
Taking a nap can literally save your life.
If you feel tired or you need that extra boost of energy, take a nap. Naps are one of the best and healthiest ways to refresh your mind, wake up, and get some extra energy to get through the day.
They can improve your memory, make you more productive, and make you even more creative.
However, to have a sufficient power nap, follow my recommendations:
Recommendation no. 1:
Do not nap longer than 45 minutes. You should nap somewhere between 10 and 45 minutes,
Less than 10 minutes won’t help you if you are tired, but after 45 minutes, your brain goes to deeper stages of sleep, and you will wake up transformed into a grumpy cat.
Recommendation no. 2:
Do not nap close to your bedtime. This one is pretty obvious
If you get an energy boost before your sleep, you won’t be able to fall asleep in the evening, so take a nap before 5 PM.
If you want to get the most out of your nap, use Pzizz app.
To learn even more tricks, read my Ultimate Guide to Napping.
Eat-in a Sleep-Promoting Way
“Woah, take it easy. What is this suppose to mean?”
Don’t worry, let me explain it to you.
Slowing down your metabolism is beneficial before sleep.
I advise you not to eat at least 1 hour before planned bedtime. If you cannot resist that tasty snack in the evening (or in the middle of the night), make it small and avoid fatty foods (especially meat), acidic foods, and sugar (in any form).
If your metabolism has to digest your food during the night, how the hell do you think you will wake up with tons of energy?
To make it easier for you, I’ve prepared a list of food that you can eat in the evening.
Great bedtime snacks that can even promote sleeping are:
- Greek yogurt
- cereal (without chocolate)
- whole grains
- protein shakes (without sugar)
- cottage cheese
This shouldn’t be too difficult, am I right?
Drink in a Sleep-Promoting Way
“Oh, for Christ’s sake, I cannot eat, and I cannot drink what I want?”
Nope, sadly, but that’s life.
If you want to achieve your goals, you have to fight for them.
I just want to make it easier for you.
So, here is my tip.
Even though drinking does fantastic things for your body, it can disturb our sleep. I try to avoid drinking 1 hour before bedtime, and I advise you to do the same.
You don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night needing to go to the toilet.
Drinks you should avoid drinking before bed:
- coffee (duuuh) / any beverage with caffeine*
- green tea
- black tea
*What does before bed mean? It means avoid drinking caffeine 10-12 hours before sleep and also avoid overconsuming it.
Alcohol, however, will help you fall asleep, but you will not get a good night sleep.
It disturbs your sleeping rhythm and blocks your REM sleep.
Do (Not) Excercise
“All right, now I’m confused.”
Don’t be. Let me explain.
Regular exercise will improve the quality of your sleep. Studies show that people who exercise sleep better, even though they don’t necessarily sleep any longer.
Sometimes it is hard to squeeze training into a busy schedule.
Anyhow, I am sure you can find at least 30 minutes a day to take a walk, do an easy workout at home, or go for a run in the morning.
You can also find a fun way to exercise with your friends, so you do 2 things at the same time.
Even being more active through the day can be a small, yet positive change. So, take the steps, not the lift.
However, avoid exercising before bed. Light exercise such as stretching, tai chi, or yoga can make you fall asleep faster.
Anything more than that can keep you awake longer.
Try to be physically active 3-4 hours before sleep and not later. Rather use the boost of energy that you get from physical activity in the morning.
You see, it’s not THAT hard.
BONUS TIP: Use Sleep Supplements And Nootropics
Have you ever heard of nootropics?
Nootropics are mainly natural compounds that can have a positive effect on your cognitive function.
They can help you with focus, memory, drive, motivation, productivity, creativity, and also sleep.
Beside nootropics for improving cognitive performance, there are some nootropics and food supplements that can definitely improve the quality of your sleep, make you fall asleep faster and help you wake up more energized.
Check out my favorite one here.
If you don’t want to browse the whole list, here is my favorite sleep nootropic:
Performance Lab Sleep
To read more about it, click here >>
If you want to get the lowest price possible, then order it here >>
And that’s about it.
I can imagine there is a lot of information for you, but don’t panic!
Just go step by step, slowly improve different parts of your sleep routine, and before you realize it, your sleep will dramatically improve.
The more consistent you are, the better.
I hope this guide will help you get closer to your goals.