White sheets bed white bedroom natural light

1. Turn the lights down or off an hour before going to sleep. Blue light apparently triggers the release of wakeful chemicals in your brain, but I also find that setting the tone for sleep environmentally helps. Set your device to night mode & reduce the brightness to the absolute minimum (or turn it off completely).

2. Engage in chilled out, relaxing tasks. I read for anywhere between 15 minutes and a few hours before going to sleep. It’s also a good time to quietly reflect or listen to something narrative. I’ve personally found (and there’s research that seems to support this assertion) that things like social media and Netflix shows tend to push in the opposite direction: they rile you up instead of calming you down.

3. If you’re going to entertain yourself, opt for fiction. There’s research to support this: apparently the mindset you slip into when reading fiction is different from that which you enter when reading nonfiction, and the former is more conducive to sleep, and possibly even operating on a more creative level the next day. It’s also a good excuse to read more fiction, if you don’t otherwise do so.

4. Work out a bit, but not right before hopping into bed. I typically work out for about 15-20 minutes a few hours before I intend to settle in for the night. This sets a regular rhythm for my body, but also allows me to feel good, with all those positive chemicals, while still allowing me to shower and chill out before winding down for the night.

5. This is kind of a big picture concept, but it’s been a big deal for me: do things that align with your sense of morality. If you live intentionally, you’re less likely to wallow in guilt or regret – two things that keep a lot of people up at night. Many things of this nature, most of them small and silly, kept me from sleeping well for years. Taking the time to forgive yourself for, & whenever possible right old wrongs, while also doing your best to prevent new ones, helps immensely in this regard.

Colin Wright

Photo via Remain Simple