How often do you get a good night’s sleep?
To quote Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it”.
The city lifestyle is PRETTY FAST. Everyone is on the grind, hustling to make something of themselves. It’s REALLY hard to fit everything in. Getting a good night’s sleep is often the first thing to get sacrificed.
Two years ago, I was that person who thought I only needed 6 hours to thrive. Thankfully, in came All Day Fit’s sleep challenge, which completely changed my life. We committed to 31 days of 8 hours of sleep. This is when I learned what thriving really meant. If you’re someone who thinks you don’t need sleep, do yourself a favour. Commit to a consistent month of sleep to truly see how your life can be impacted.
For the past two years I have been perfecting my sleeping routine. Check out how I get good quality zzzzzzzzzzz’s.
This is your non-negotiable; a standard you’re setting for yourself. You may need to be late for a deadline or leave an event early, but this is the window of sleep you absolutely will not dip below in order to feel and be your best self. I strive for 7 every night, but 6 is my non-negotiable.
2. Stick to a sleep schedule!
I go to bed and wake up at the same time every day of the week. It’s all about consistency. On Sundays, I was often letting myself sleep in and then struggling to fall asleep at night because I wasn’t tired. This lead to a poor night’s sleep heading into Monday – the last way you want to start the week.
3. Set a night time alarm.
We set a morning alarm to tell us to wake up, do the same to tell you to start to wind down. Mine is set for 9:45 every night!
4. Create a night time routine.
They say “how you start your morning determines how your day goes”, I feel the same about my night time routine. At 9:45 pm when my bedtime alarm goes off, I begin my nightly routine. For me this is face wash and cream, teeth brushing and flossing, a glass of water and crawling into bed with Jahmeek to cuddle. Most of the time I have a podcast or audiobook playing while I get ready for bed!
5. Get daily exercise.
Exercise is great in MANY ways, sleep included. It helps you fall asleep faster and improve your quality of sleep. For me, it needs to be early in the day. I prefer not to workout near, or after dinner as it tends to energize me and keep me up longer. Morning workouts for the win!
6. Night Shift your phone.
Smartphone screens emit blue light so you can see the screen even at the sunniest times of day. At night, your brain gets confused by the light and this causes your brain to stop producing melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone that gives your body “time to sleep” cues. So check out the settings on your phone and enable Night Shift to cut down on the blue light shining in your eyes.
On iPhone follow these directions: Settings > Display & Brightness > Night Shift
7. Use the ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature on your phone.
What we do with our phones can also stimulate our minds and keep us awake, especially if we are scrolling through social media, reading news, or an email comes through. Schedule quiet hours that will automatically turn on during your set hours each day. I have mine set 10 pm – 7 am everyday. However, I do suggest you set yours earlier!
On the iPhone follow these directions: Settings > Do Not Disturb > Schedule
Hidden sleep stealers:
8. Avoid caffeine after 11:00 am.
Caffeine affects your sleep, period. Everyone thinks they need caffeine to keep them alert in the afternoon. Then it affects their sleep that night therefore making them more tired the next day – it’s a vicious cycle. We suggest calling it quits at 11:00 am because caffeine 6 hours before bed can reduce the quantity and quality of your sleep. Read about the effects that can occur even when you are unaware of them.
9. Avoid casual alcohol before bed.
It makes me sad when I hear people say they drink wine to help them fall asleep. Alcohol is a depressant and yes, it may help you fall asleep faster but it does decrease the quality of your sleep and potentially inhibit your restorative sleep. It can interrupt your circadian rhythm, block REM sleep, aggravate breathing problems and lead to extra washroom trips throughout the night. Read more from the National Sleep Foundation here.
Last, but certainly not least…
10. Create your own sleeping oasis.
A few years ago, Jahmeek and I were travelling on the West Coast when I had the ultimate realization: why the heck are hotel beds more comfortable than my own bed!? I decided, enough is enough, I am investing in our own bedroom oasis. We spent an entire day testing out mattresses, pillows, duvets, sheets and comforter sets. We settled on an Endy mattress and bought the rest from The Bay. If you don’t already follow The Bay, check out their Bay Days for crazy deals. There is nothing better than crawling into fresh clean sheets, so we wash our sheets every second Tuesday, this is a non negotiable! Lastly, we have a fan in our room to circulate the air and the noise cancels out the hum of the city streets.
Give yourself a REAL chance at living optimally. Get your daily workout in, avoid stimulants, shut off your blue light, set a sleep schedule, set the alarm, create a night time routine and follow it. Whether your sleep needs improvement or think you are fine thriving off little sleep, try implementing these tools. I can guarantee you WILL improve your quality of life 100%.
Now GO TO BED.