Ever since I started wearing a Fitbit a couple of years ago, I have really been interested in the quality and duration of my sleep. The first thing I do every morning is assess the previous night’s sleep. How do I feel? Do I think the quality was good? After this quick check-in with my body, I open the Fitbit app on my phone and compare how I feel to what my watch tells me.
Most of the time, my assessment and what my watch tells me are similar. Sometimes, however, they don’t match. When they are out of sync, I have to monitor the psychological games going on in my head and not let it have a negative influence on my day. Why do I feel good, I am showing very little deep sleep? I feel okay, but oh no, I’m showing I didn’t sleep much at all.
My Fitbit is a good tool. By taking a good look at my sleep quality, I can try to determine the causes for a bad night of sleep. So what exactly do I need to do to sleep better? To go to sleep and truly get the rest I need and desire, I must do the following:
- Get up early. If I sleep too long, there is a greater chance I will not be ready to go to sleep the next night.
- Exercise. I have to wear myself out physically during the day. I’ve noticed this with my little boy too. If he goes through the day with little exercise (i.e. a long day of travelling), then he will be super-hyper in the evening and not want to go to bed.
- Cut off food intake a couple of hours before turning in. I am not sure if there is any science to this, but I know how my body reacts. The nights I eat dinner late usually results in poor sleep scores the next morning.
- Limit fluid intake. This is for obvious reasons. If I get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, I often struggle to get back to sleep.
- Have a clean conscience. Ever go to bed with something bothering you from the day before? It is hell trying to get it off your mind and get to sleep. This could be an argument, a task I failed to complete, or anything that is just bothering me. If I can’t tie it off, it will stay open in my mind all night.
- Stretch it out. If I don’t I going to wake up in the middle of the night aching. I’m going to be stiffer than usual in the morning. The cure is preventative maintenance the night before. I don’t always spend a lot of time on this, but I do make sure I get my hamstrings and psoas.
- Fatigue my eyes by reading before turning out the light for the night. Reading (not social media) is the key, but nothing that is so interesting that I keep reading all night. I’ve recently turned to biographies for this nightly ritual.
- Throughout the day, I write down all the things I need to get done. This is especially important before bed (journaling) to ensure my mind is empty and has nothing to think about while lying in bed.
If I follow the above protocol, the chances are good I will wake up refreshed the next morning and be ready to attack the new day. These are my best practices, but I am always looking for new ways to enhance my sleep. What are your best practices?
In the end, winning is sleeping better. –Jodie Foster