How strange are we talking?
Now, we know all the classic good sleep practices, like not eating sugar or coffee before going to bed, exercising during the day, darkening your room as far as possible, and avoiding screens before you go to sleep. But, speaking from experience, we also know that all of these things require a life-style change and that’s hard. We encourage you to try at least one of these healthy practices and build your way up to doing all of them.
However, for this post, we’ve got 3 strange tips to improve the quality of your sleep. And, added bonus: all three of these are super simple to implement.
1. Rock your Pajamas!
We all do it and we all have them – the oversized t-shirts and baggy pants that we slouch around in and fall asleep in. Even though it’s super easy to come by and feeds into the “chilled-vibes” we all exude from time to time, it’s actually not the best sleeping attire you could choose. Wearing pajamas to bed is linked to better sleep for several reasons – one of the biggest being the fact that your entire body and mind knows it’s bedtime once those pj’s come out to play, metaphorically. (Or physically, depending on how sexy your pj’s are! Which we totally, recommend, btw).
Your mind is wired in such a way that it starts associating certain objects with specific actions. By simply having a dedicated set of pajamas to sleep in instead of slouchy pants, your mind will automatically link pajamas to sleep and start preparing your body for sleep.
Key point: pajamas are for bedtime and oversized t-shirts are for chilling.
2. Perform a little ritual.
Not the dancing in a circle and sprinkling water kind, unless you’re into it, of course. Find a series of 2 or 3 really simple, low-maintenance things to do just before you go to sleep. The idea is that these little things become your bedtime ritual, like a bookmark for a specific feeling (also called anchors).
Consider international athletes with weird little rituals. One of the most notable and well-known ones is Rafael Nadal’s strange combination of pulling at his pants, scratching his ear, wiping his cheek, and pinching his nose. This is not just a random combination of actions that he does because he likes them. In the tennis world, it’s known as a Serving Ritual and it improves his serve. In the coaching world, it’s known as an anchor and it helps you to create a specific feeling or mental state (like focus, in his case).
You can do the same thing to hack your body to feel sleepier and induce hormone production. Find 2- 3 super simple actions that you can repeat whenever you’re going to sleep. I remove the pillows in a very specific order (which is more than 2-3 action, to be honest). Whenever I do this, I know that it’s definitely sleeping time. I also have a specific song that I listen to when I can’t fall asleep straight away.
Top Tip: the more senses you include in the ritual, the more effective it will be. (Be creative, there are so many small things that will make a big difference. Hell, why not wash your pillowcases with a little essential oils while you’re at it?)
3. Ditch the bed!
If you’re worried I’m going to tell you to forego the bed and sleep on the floor, you can relax! that’s not it, although this is probably the hardest to actually implement because it requires some determination. If you find that you really can’t sleep, then don’t stay in bed. Get up and do something else for a while. (For the love of the Sandman, leave your phone and tech devices be). Doing this means that your bed stays a “sleeping space”. If you sleep in bed with a partner, you might feel worried that you’re going to bother them but tossing and turning actually breaks the quality of their sleep even more.
Get up and do something that relaxes you – make yourself a cup of tea and read a page out of a magazine, write a To-Do list for the next day (if you’re finding your mind caught up with work), colour a page in a colouring book, blow out a candle and move it a little further every time you re-light it, plan your next trip somewhere, listen to music, knit or knead dough (which means fresh bread in the morning!)
The key focus? Give yourself permission to not sleep. (You might find that by not forcing it, it comes naturally).
An extra little tip that we feel strongly about, is how you get out of bed (as opposed to getting into bed). Avoid the Snooze button at all costs. It’s an incredibly unhealthy practice and yes, we know it’s nice cuddling up for those extra 10 minutes. But it’s not worth it.
Because this is such a hard one to actually implement, we included the link to a hack that will help you accomplish getting out of bed after the first alarm. Go check it out, now!
Comment your tips on how you improve the quality of your sleep in the comment section below!