One in three adults does not get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Not getting enough sleep can have a significant impact on your physical and mental energy, and even your health. Some people are “bad sleepers” who either struggle to go to or stay asleep. Others sabotage themselves by not allowing enough time for a good night’s sleep.
If you fall into this latter category, here are nine ways to make more time for sleep.
1. Establish a bedtime and stick to it
It’s probably been years since you had a bedtime, but if you want to make more time for sleep, it’s time to bring it back. Simply work back eight hours from the time you have to get up; that’s your new bedtime. For example, if you need to get up at 7am, you need to be in bed before 11pm. If you miss your bedtime, there is no way you’ll be able to get enough sleep per night. Try to go to bed within an hour of your bedtimes at weekends too. This will help develop and preserve a healthy sleeping routine.
2. Remove distractions from your bedroom
It’s not enough to go to bed on time, you actually need to go to sleep! It’s all too easy to be distracted if you are watching TV in bed, surfing the internet, or using social media. Remove all sources of distraction from your bedroom so that you are more likely to go to sleep. If you need to do something to pass the time before you go to sleep, read a book or listen to relaxing music.
3. Front-load your day
If you get to the end of the day and still have tasks you need to complete, you may be tempted to push your bedtime back an hour or two. This is a slippery slope that can soon become a bad habit. Instead of leaving tasks to the end of the day, try to do more earlier. That way, you’ll be free to relax and unwind instead of getting busy when you should be sleeping.
4. Learn how to prioritize and procrastinate
Procrastination is often seen as a negative trait. Still, when it comes to getting enough sleep, it can be very helpful. Learn how to separate what is important from what is not and put those less important tasks off until tomorrow. Instead of worrying about the small things in life, go to bed earlier and then deal with them the next day when you are wide awake.
5. Create a better morning routine
Does getting up early rob you of valuable sleep? You are not alone! But how early do you really need to get up to get ready for the day? Can you streamline your morning routine so that you can get an extra hour in bed? Look for ways to shorten your morning routine to you can sleep in longer. Good options include:
- Use a coffee machine with a timer and set it up the night before
- Make and pack your lunch while you are making dinner to save time
- Lay out tomorrows clothes before you go to bed
- Have a smoothie for breakfast and drink it on your way to work
- Shower, shave or wash your hair before you go to bed
A more efficient morning routine means you don’t have to get up so early, and that’s an easy way to get more sleep.
6. Have a work curfew
Mobile phones and easy access to email can mean you are always at work, even when you are at home and should be sleeping. Avoid this problem by initiating a work curfew. Do not answer or even look at work-related calls, texts, or emails within an hour or two of your bedtime. You should be able to justify this to your boss, colleagues, and clients by explaining that you’ll be more effective and efficient after a full night’s sleep.
7. Wind down before you go to bed
It can be hard to go to sleep if you are hyped up, anxious, or otherwise mentally stimulated. Even if you go to bed at a reasonable time, you still won’t clock up enough sleep. Avoid this problem by winding down for an hour before heading off to bed. Dim the lights, sit quietly and focus on relaxing your mind and body. That way, when you go to bed, you’ll be ready for sleep and won’t waste your valuable bedtime tossing and turning.
8. Learn to be more efficient
Not having enough time is the adult version of the dog ate my homework! It’s something we all say, but it’s rarely true. It’s more likely that we’re wasting time throughout the day, and that’s why we struggle to go to bed early enough to get enough sleep.
Look for ways to use your time more wisely and stop wasting it. Start thinking of time saved as money in the bank. No one likes wasting money, and yet many of us waste our time. Time is arguably the most valuable commodity, so learn to spend it wisely, and even grudgingly. Save your time for what really matters, such as sleep.
9. Become a TV snob
TV is the most common reason for staying up late. However, so much of what we watch is junk! Learn to be a more discerning viewer, and if the show you are watching is the TV equivalent of a mass-produced takeout burger, turn it off and go to bed instead. Save your viewing time for quality TV shows and make more time for sleep.
Getting enough sleep can be hard, but it’s impossible if you don’t make time for it. Prioritizing sleep can have a tremendous impact on all aspects of your life, from your health to your energy levels to your productivity. In contrast, not getting enough sleep can make every aspect of life more difficult than it needs to be. Increase your chances of getting enough sleep by making more time for it. This is not always easy, but your efforts will be rewarded.