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I Used To Pull All-Nighters, Now I Can Barely Stay Awake

21 Apr 2016

You felt invincible back when you could pull all-nighters and still charge through life, but now, you’re not even sure when you’re actually awake! Quit the snooze and loose, and fix your poor habits with these 5 fast steps to better sleep.

1. Maintain a sleep schedule.

If you want to maximise the quality of sleep you're getting, then it pays to organise and stay true to a sleep schedule. Having a daily routine, not just during the week but everyday, makes it easier to attain balance and to keep productive. And since sleep is an essential part of our everyday lives, it can severely affect our ability to function if we're not getting enough. Our bodies have a circadian rhythm, which becomes stronger when we have enough sleep; further motivating us to become more alert throughout the day and to build our sleep/wake restorative process. How do you achieve this?

2. Set a time and practice essential sleep hygiene.

Simply set a time to go to sleep every night, and night-by-night strive to follow that. The more you follow this routine, the easier it will become as you naturally push your body clock, formally known as the 'circadian biological clock', back into shape. If you're someone who finds it difficult to fall asleep, then you need to factor in lifestyle changes that'll better assist you. These might include regular exercise, a warm bath before bed to ease your muscles, a comfortable sleeping position, herbal tea, journal and try to avoid alcohol and caffeine late at night. 

3. Use sleep tracking technology.

You may be able to change your routine, remove your bad habits, eat well and exercise, but when it comes to the hard facts, there's actually no proof to indicate your nightly progress - plainly because you're "asleep". This is why sleep tracking tech, particularly smartphone apps and sleep tracking gadgets, are highly beneficial. Smartphone apps like Sleep Tracker Pro for example, provide you with a clear visualisation of your sleep movement, establish your sleep cycles and from your continual entries, gather facts about you, determine your patterns and as a conclusive result, transform your sleep cycle to meet your needs; all for a good night's sleep. 

4. Make your bedroom sleep-friendly.

This is very important. If you're someone who's constantly checking their phone even off the clock, falls asleep with the TV on or just finds it impossible to switch off - then you especially, need to make sure you're bedroom is device-free. You spend all day using electronics and when it comes to sleeping, now's the time to spend all night away from these. A realistic goal is to turn off all devices at least one hour before bed. 

Create a calm state for your body and mind by turning your bedroom into a relaxing atmosphere. Keep the temperature cool, the sound low, find the perfect scented candle and dim those lights! Even partial lighting, whether from your phone screen or bedside alarm clock, stimulates your brain, while noise creates a disturbance. Try placing your phone on the other side of your room and face down, wear ear plugs to block out unwanted noise or play 45 minutes of slow (60-80 beats per minute) music each night, which according to a Case Western Reserve University study, will improve sleep quality by 35 per cent.

5. Try Dr Andrew Weil's 4-7-8 method.

The 4-7-8 breathing technique is renowned a "natural tranquilliser for the nervous system", it's quick and easy to learn, and the more you practice, the more effective it will be. This method works in a similar way to meditation by way of the same objective: to place your mind into a relaxed state. Watch Dr Weil and follow these six simple steps, and you'll soon notice a remarkable improvement in breathing and a greater ability to handle tension and combat cravings.