How to set sleep goals
New Year’s Resolutions and fresh starts are a great time to set your habits on the right path, especially sleep.
This year, our resolution is to help you achieve that goal. It’s our aim every year and all the time. It’s our mission. But this year, we want to provide you with more than just information about pillows. Yes the pillows and bedding environment are very important. Your comfort is critical to helping you sleep better.
However, we don’t sleep in a vacuum. There are so many other factors involved in getting great restful and restorative sleep.
And sleep is critical in supporting you in everything you do. Your body cannot function properly without it. Your mind cannot either.
If 2020 is your year to a new you, then you must sleep!
Why do we need to sleep better?
Routinely sleeping less than 6-7 hours per night:
- Destroys your immune system, doubling your risk of cancer.
- Weighs heavily in determining whether you’ll develop Alzheimer’s disease.
- Increases the risk of blocked coronary arteries leading to cardiovascular disease, stroke, and congestive heart failure.
- Increases the hormone that makes you feel hungry and suppresses the companion hormone that signals food satisfaction, leading to weight gain, regardless of food choice or amount of exercise.
Therefore, if losing weight and getting healthier are on your list of goals, you cannot achieve them without getting high-quality sleep.
Let’s cover how to set up a sleep goal, without adding more stress to your life, because stress is a big factor in why many people cannot sleep.
There are 3 areas of sleep where you might be getting stuck:
- Falling asleep
- Staying asleep
- Going to be too late and/or waking up too early
How to fall asleep faster
We’ve covered this topic in this post: How to fall asleep faster. To highlight, turn off your devices, including phone, TV, computer, tablets at least 30 minutes prior to bed. The light waves emitted from these devices block melatonin release, which is needed to fall asleep.
Take a warm shower, although don’t go to bed with wet hair. People with insomnia have a higher core body temperature. While taking a warm shower seems illogical, it actually brings your core temperature down after you get out of the shower, and it slows your metabolic rate so you can fall asleep.
Turn down the temperature of your room. One or two degrees can make a huge difference.
Listen to relaxing music or white noise, and try aromatherapy with lavender. We have a great lavender sleep spray that does the trick, without leaving residue or lingering aroma.
And of course, make sure your sleep surface and your pillow are right for you, that you feel supported, aligned, and comfortable.
What happens when your mind suddenly pops awake after 2-3 hours of sleep? Sometimes, this is due to the need to urinate. The bladder’s limited capacity seems to shrink as we accumulate years on the planet. However, if you know this about yourself, try limiting fluid intake in the hours prior to bed. If you can, adjust your water intake to be heavy in the morning, and slowly diminish through the afternoon.
Listening to a meditation or soothing audiobook or music can usually quiet your mind if it wakes up when it shouldn’t. One great podcast we highly recommend is Nothing Much Happens, available on Itunes, Spotify, and Stitcher.
Going to bed too late and/or waking up too early
It may seem like an obvious piece of advice, but you can control what time you go to bed. If it’s a big stretch to start going to bed at 9 rather than midnight, try just going to bed 30 minutes earlier for a week, and then another 30 minutes earlier for a week. Allow your body and mind to adjust naturally to the new habit.
Frequently we have to wake up at a specific time in order to start the day for work or school, so controlling your bedtime is an easier place to start.
How to accomplish a sleep goal
First, remember each day sleep is brand new; it’s a new experiment to see how we do. It’s a practice. Put the stress or need to be perfect aside. There is no room here for that here.
Second, good old fashion paper and pen work great for tracking how you feel and what time you go to bed, when you wake up, etc. This can also work great if your mind is racing in the middle of the night. Write down what’s going on in that noisy head. No one is going to read it.
When you wake up in the morning first thing before you do anything else, note how you feel. Do you feel refreshed? Do you remember any of your dreams? How many times did you wake up?
As you do this, you’ll see patterns emerge that you didn’t know were happening.
Third, invest in high-quality comfortable bedding for you. We’re all not created equally. The pillow that’s right for you may be really uncomfortable for someone else.
We see a lot of comments about how expensive our pillows are, and that those people would prefer the $5 pillow from Wal-Mart.
But aren’t you worth more than $5?
This is where you get to take inventory on how you value your self-care and yourself. If the most luxurious item is out of your price range, find the most comfortable bedding or pillow that is what you can afford, and work your way up to the best. You won’t regret it, and it does make a difference.
Remember these key elements: With a down pillow, you sleep more IN the pillow. With a feather pillow, you sleep more ON the pillow. These characteristics can help you shop for the right pillow.
We have a quiz to help you choose the right pillow for you, including the thickness of the pillow. It’s free, and it can help you shop no matter where you need to shop.
Now, get your notebook ready and start logging your sleep patterns. Sleep well.