"Follow your passion," right? Wrong, says Cal Newport. The muse for his excellent and thoughtful book, So Good They Can't
Sleep Hygiene Basics
Not that long ago the phrase, "I'll sleep when I'm dead" was used by the ambitious and hungry. It was a way to indicate that you weren't going to let something silly like sleep get in the way of your goals. Nobody says that anymore, and thankfully, sleep is finally getting the attention it deserves. You might think, "I've been sleeping since I was a baby, I've got it handled." Maybe you do. But let's just double-check.
Setting the Stage
Have the right sleep environment. Your bedroom should be comfortable, cool, quiet, and dark. If you're a light sleeper and are bothered by noise, consider a white noise machine or earplugs. If light bothers you, consider a sleep mask or blackout curtains. Such measures may seem strange at first, but after you witness the results, you'll understand why they work.
Don't underestimate your subconscious. Only use your bedroom for sleep and intimacy. If your brain associates that room with rest and relaxation, it will be that much easier to fall asleep. Who needs a TV in the bedroom anyway?
Invest in a great mattress. You will, ideally, spend at least one third of your life in bed, one third of every day you're alive. If anything deserves to be spent on, it would be that.
During the day
Get up at the same time everyday. This will help to "set" your body clock and create a chain of events that will send your body into "shut down" mode at the right time to get you adequate sleep based on that wake time.
Exercise. As a general rule strenuous exercise should not be done close to bedtime, but even as little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise a day can dramatically increase sleep quality.
Establish a routine. As with the recommendation to get up at the same time everyday, get into a routine of "shutting down all systems" before bed. For some this could be a warm shower or bath, for others reading a book or light stretching.
Make sure your devices are set to go into night mode. Many smartphones now have the option to change the colors of your phone away from "daytime" mode so that your brain doesn't continue to think it needs to stay alert.
A good night's sleep can be perhaps the single most important thing you can do everyday to succeed. If you still aren't persuaded, and want to hear statistics and studies, check out this TEDx talk on how sleep deprivation stratifies our society and prevents many from achieving their potential.
Do you have any sleep tips to share? Do so in the comments below to receive a pass for a free 7-course hair service for a friend who has never tried The Gents Place.
About Ben Davis
A serial entrepreneur, Ben Davis is founder of The Gents Place and a leading investor in gentlemen's refinement and confidence.
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