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How To Get Better Sleep Without Medication

By Edited Mar 16, 2016 3 3

Get More Sleep

Let's start with the most obvious thing here.  Chances are, if you are constantly waking up tired and sluggish, you aren't getting as much sleep as you are supposed to.  Determine how many hours of rest you should be getting nightly.  Then write down what time you are going to bed, and what time you are getting up each morning.  Are you meeting the requirements?

Everyone is busy all the time, and it's not realistic to take 9 hours every day to be unconscious.  But if you are going to bed at 3 AM and waking up by 7 AM, you're doing something wrong.  Some people won the genetic lottery and can be alert and focused on just four hours.  But if you're seeking out articles like this, you probably aren't one of them.

Peaceful Sleep

Since we all have very different schedules, you just have to find time.  Whether you are a college student with other commitments, someone working multiple jobs, or a mixture of both, you've got to figure it out.  There is always extra time, some people are just unlucky and have to search harder to find it.  Maybe it means cutting out TV, Facebook, or other time sucks.  Sometimes you need to make sacrifices for your health.

Cut the Screen Time

Speaking of TV and Facebook, you want to try to avoid looking at electronic screens as much as possible.  This means the television, the computer, perhaps most importantly, your cell phone.  Speaking of which, charge up your iPhone in the kitchen.  It may feel weird at first not to lie in bed and browse Twitter or Reddit, or check email, but fight this urge.  You are in your bed to sleep, so try and worry about that, and not what people are saying about your Instagram picture.

If you have to be on the computer often, for work or school and such, then definitely look into software like F.lux, which dims the brightness and slightly changes colors to make them easier on your eyes.  It's completely free, and after using it and then trying to sleep you will notice a huge difference in the strain that a computer screen does to your eyes.

Another habit you want to stop is watching TV while you're lying there falling asleep.  It's bad for your eyes, it's bad for your body, and it doesn't help you get the best night's rest possible.  Ideally you want to turn off the television, as well as your other electronic screens, as far in advance as you can.  Make this time away from the technology productive.  Get some other work done, read a book, learn a new practical skill, etc.  You probably have been meaning to stop wasting so much time vegging in front of the TV or on YouTube, now is a great time to cut those things and also get some well deserved rest.

 

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Exercise in the Morning

This tip for how to get better sleep is advantageous to you in 2 ways.

First, it's important to note that exercise will keep you awake.  So if you are going to the gym after work, or heading out for night time jogs, then it's only natural that you would be having troubles falling asleep.  Exercise will get your heart pumping and your adrenaline flowing.  It's making your body wind up, not helping you to relax and unwind.

Second, this will help combat the grogginess that you feel in the morning.  As already mentioned, this will wake you up.  Many people that have made exercise a habit have talked and claimed about just how clear and focused you are after a work out.  You'll also feel good, as it releases endorphins to your brain.

Everyone wants to know what they can do to be more focused at work.  This is one of those life hacking tips.  Wake up early and hit the gym on your way there, or go for a morning jog.  After all, you're going to take a shower anyway.  Also, if you are having trouble motivating yourself to the gym or to do other exercise in the morning: sleep in your clothes.  Seriously, put on the shorts and the Nike gear, and sleep in it.  This way when you wake up, you will feel more inclined to do the exercise, as you are already dressed up and ready to go.

Wake Up Without Alarm Clocks or Snooze Buttons

Chances are, you have grown to hate the noise or the music played by your alarm clock when it goes off in the morning.  You want to punch it, throw it, anything that will make it stop.  In your head, all that you need to feel fully awake is "just another 5 minutes", like you used to tell your parents in high school.

alarm

The problem here is that all of this goes against your REM cycle.  Instead of your body waking up naturally when it feels ready, you are waking up to the blaring of your local radio station.  And every time you hit the snooze button and fall asleep, you are putting your body through this unnatural cycle all over again.

So how do you start waking up without these devices?  As with a lot of things in life, the key is consistency.  You have to go to sleep around the same time every night, and wake up around the same time every morning.

Pick out two times that would be ideal for you.  Make sure it also coordinates with the number of hours of sleep you should be getting every night.  Then stick to this schedule.  Obviously in the beginning, you will probably need to use an alarm clock to avoid being late for work and such.  Also, remember to follow this schedule on the weekends as well, it needs to be consistent day in and day out.

Slowly, you can start easing yourself off on the alarm clock.  Try going to bed at your usual time on a Friday or Saturday night, but don't set it.  See what time you wake up the next morning.  Since your body is used to a specific amount of sleep, and waking up at a certain time, it will set its REM cycle accordingly, and you should wake up around normal time.  Keep doing this, and soon you will be enjoying night after night of peaceful, relaxing, and most importantly, resting sleep.

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Comments

Feb 24, 2014 9:15pm
EnterprisingInvestor
Awesome article Alex! I love that you used Facebook, and "time suck" as synonyms. Charging your phone in the kitchen is another awesome suggestion.
Feb 25, 2014 1:23pm
Moina-Arcee
Thanks for the tip about F.lux software, and for the article.
Feb 25, 2014 7:18pm
dogman007
I love the tip or charging the cell phone in the kitchen or another room. Keep it out of the bedroom at night period. Dust off the old alarm clock if you have to. Agree, working out in the morning is tough to start but once it becomes part of your routine it gives you a surge of energy and makes your day much more productive.
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