Lifestyle - August 29, 2018

How to Actually Get 8 Hours of Sleep

I’ve been wanting to write more about sleep on BTD for like a year, but I honestly always thought it was *too boring* of a topic. I didn’t know if y’all would want to hear about the topic…or if it’d put you to sleep (get it?). But then I realized that it’s a habit that impacts ALL of us in a really important way. I call it a habit because that’s what I think it is. It’s a necessity and natural, but to actually get good sleep, you must form healthy habits around it. Once I started looking at sleep as an accumulation of healthy habits, it actually becomes easier to take on.

On top of that, I’ve been going hard on the #BrightonBrain when it comes to blue light (the light that our tech/screens put out), which you’ve probably seen me talk about on Stories slash Instagram. It honestly taught me SO much, and it’s been even more reason to finally write this post (because the blue light can disrupt your sleep!).

I’ve already talked a little bit about my nighttime routine, but that was focused more on falling asleep. This post is more focused on HOW TO STAY ASLEEP. Because I’ve found that people (including me) can go through cycles of struggling with each. Some of the posts overlap, and if you have trouble actually falling asleep, make sure to read this post, too, k?

How to Actually Get 8 Hours of Sleep

But now onto the tips on staying asleep for a healthy dose of 8ish hours…

Stop drinking caffeine early in the day

Being tired in the afternoon is part of a cycle. If you don’t sleep well (and treat your body well), you’re gonna be tired by 2 pm and will probably reach for that coffee. Big mistake if you want to get to sleep early! Caffeine can actually stay in your bloodstream for HOURS – even close to 8. So stop drinking caffeine part the early afternoon. If you need to get an energy boost, try to go for a quick walk outside, do some jumping jacks, or shut your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Or at the very least, switch to green tea until you can fully give up the afternoon cup.

Stick to your nighttime routine

This step is crucial. You’ve gotta get into a nighttime routine a couple hours for bed! This doesn’t mean you’re literally going to bed at 8, but you’re slowly turning off that TV, your phone, washing your face, etc. This way, by bedtime you’ll be ready to doze off at a decent hour. Create a routine that makes sense for your life and feels good because you should look forward to it. Personally, I like to spend time reading and/or journaling before bed in order to slow my mind down and reflect on the day and/or what’s been running through my mind.

Related: Tips for For Falling Asleep and I talk about the skincare products I’ve been using and loving lately in this post

Get the temp right

Did y’all know that the temperature of your room can play a huge role in how well you sleep? It’s true! It can vary a bit, but most studies say between 60-67 degrees (which is honestly a lot colder than I would have guessed). If you can, try to make your room as close to this as possible. I just got a Nest thermostat and I’m OBSESSED with it because I can change the temperature from my iPhone.

Stick to a schedule

OK, this tip can be tricky, but if you really want to improve your sleep, you’ve gotta do it. By going to bed at the same time every night and then waking at the same time, you set your circadian rhythm. This essentially tells your body that it’s time to go to bed and wake up, and it’ll get used to it. Plus, waking up will be a lot easier once your body naturally gets on this cycle.

Turn off technology

This is probably obvious, but tech in the bedroom isn’t a great idea. Not only can it lead to unnecessary IG scrolling before bed (and hinder sleep), the blue light from any technology can disrupt your precious sleep (because it disrupts our circadian rhythm). Best case is to physically remove anything that displays a light – so your TV, alarm clock, etc. A lot of technology actually comes with the option for dimmed lights, so that’s a great idea too. Or simply cover up any lights before you go to sleep. When it comes to your phone, turn it on Airplane Mode so that notifications don’t pop up, and stop looking at screens at least an hour before bed so the blue light doesn’t mess with your system. I’m also using this new eye cream that helps fight the damaging effects of blue light if you want to give it a try!

Workout early

You don’t have to workout at 6 a.m., but definitely try to do it earlier in the day. At the least, keep your workouts to at least 3-4 hours before bed so that energy isn’t keeping you up. Working out, in general, will help you sleep better, but gym sessions at 8 pm aren’t a great idea for going to bed on time.

Consider a sleep machine

White noise is shown to help keep you in REM sleep (the good kind). Even if you don’t remember waking up throughout the night, your body might not be in its most restful state – which can make you really tired the next day. Whether you get a legit sleep machine or use a fan, a sleep machine should do the trick to drain out all the little noises throughout the night. Earplugs help, too!

Brain dump

I’m pretty sure I put this tip on like every list, but it’s because it can do SO many things for you. Sometimes I’ll wake up in the middle of the night thinking about all the things. Then I can’t fall asleep and before I know it I’ve laid there for 2 hours thinking. If you’re the same, try a brain dump before bed! When I do them, I notice that I sleep a whole lot better. If you haven’t done one before, get the deets here.