Category Archives: Sleep

Creating Your Own Morning Routine- Tips

In the last three blogs I have been talking about being a morning person, the importance of that as well as some tips that will help you transition into becoming a morning person. In this blog I would like to give you three areas that you can focus on as you wake up in the morning.

1. Physical health
When we usually hear the term physical health, we relate that to exercise or physical activity. Well what I mean by physical health is your overall physical health of which exercise is just one part. The three important aspects in this that you need to focus on in the morning is to drink enough water, eat a great breakfast and also take some time to focus on your body.
So as you wake up, it is important that you drink a glass of water as this can help kick start your metabolism and help in the overall functioning of your body. Also remember to make drinking water an important part of your morning routine as this can also help wipe down any waste from your body. Another important aspect is to incorporate breakfast into your routine. Eating a healthy and filling meal is the key. As this is the first meal that you are eating after the previous night’s dinner, it is important that you consume a meal that is rich in nutrients and also one that will fuel your body with energy. The final important aspect in this area is exercise, I usually prefer to use the term movement as it is important to stretch your body after hours of inactivity. This can include an exercise routine or the basic stretches that will loosen up your muscles thereby helping your body to get into the rhythm of motion for the day.

2. Mental/spiritual balance
For me, this is the time where I read the bible and also take some time to reflect and think upon my previous day and my day ahead. Whether you believe in God or not, I think it can be very helpful if you take some time out of your morning before you get into the hustle of the day to just relax your mind and contemplate on what really matters to you. You could use this time for journaling and also do some meditation combined with breathing exercises. The most helpful type of meditation and breathing exercise that has worked for me is the mindfulness meditation that has a lot of proven benefits.

3. Productivity
Doing something productive is the last MUST that has to be in your morning routine, this is apart from your exercise or meditation or even cooking that happens in the morning. For a productive activity, I would suggest that you do something like reading some pages of the book that you are currently reading, catching up on some work that has to be done, finishing a chore that you were not able to finish the previous day and so one. One of the greatest benefits that I have found with this is that it gets me into the productive mindset and thereby making it easier to be productive and get my work done efficiently throughout the day.

With these broad areas in mind, create a morning routine that works best for you. As you create one for now, make adjustments and tweek it as and when required.


How Can I Become A Morning Person? Part 2

  • In continuation with last week’s blog, I have 4 more important tips that you can try out that will help you easily transition into being a morning person.
  • Create a routine to follow

In my personal opinion, we need a routine to follow in the morning. I have found that if I wake up early and decide to just lay back and relax, more often than not, I tend to go back to sleep. And to prevent that, create a routine that you can follow through without much effort, but one that will eventually wake you up. This could include brushing your teeth and showering, making your bed, getting some tea or coffee, cleaning up around the room or house, and so on. Create your own as you work your way through this process.

  • Be realistic and compassionate to yourself

This is a key element when trying to become a morning person. Pushing your way though and sticking to your goal is something that we have been taught all our lives. While this is a very important lesson that will help us get places, I also think that being realistic and compassionate to yourself is important. Let me explain this. So when I say be realistic and compassionate, what I meant is that if you have only gotten a few hours of sleep every day for the past one week, then your body is not well rested. And instead of pushing yourself to wake up at the same time and dragging yourself though the day, I think it is important that you cut yourself some slack and sleep in, or sleep a little early so that your body can get the rest it needs. 

  • Take breaks

As you are transitioning, there are chances that you might just want to give up on this as it might become harder for you to follow through. And therefore one of the best tricks that has worked for me is to allow myself to sleep in a bit longer. You can decide on how long you want to sleep in. For me, I have found that sleeping in 1 extra hour one day of the week where you don’t have to be on the go has been the best ‘cheat day’ or ‘day off’ from being a morning bird. 

  • Be productive

Waking up to have a relaxing yet productive morning and waking up to have a slow morning is very different. I would say that a relaxing and productive morning is where you would wake up, make yourselves some tea or coffee, read a book (This is the time I take to read the bible and do my devotion and meditation), listen to some good music, do your stretches, catch on some last minute work before you have to head out for work or class and so on. Whereas a slow morning would be one where you have a lot of time and almost nothing to do and therefore you might start off your day by being slow. The difference that I have seen between these two mornings is that I usually tend to have a more productive day when I have a relaxing but productive morning where I am actually getting things done. And if I did have a slow morning then my whole day seems slow. There for try to do things that keep your mind active as you wake up.

These are not the only tips, but these are what has worked for me and therefore might work for you too. So give it a shot.


How can I become a morning person? Part 1

Have you ever wished to become a morning person? Or have you ever felt that it is impossible to become a morning person? Well then, this is for you. Here are a few steps that I have practiced and found useful.

 

  • Get enough sleep

 

Sleep is non-negotiable. If you want to be a morning person and have a productive day, then the first step is to get a full night’s sleep. This varies from person to person. If you usually sleep 6/7 hours each night, then you have to make sure you get 6/7 hours of sleep even when you are trying to wake up early. And being consistent with the time is also necessary as your body will get used to it and it will be easier for you to fall asleep and to wake up at a particular time. 

 

  • Work your way through slowly

 

If you wake up at 7 or 8 am currently and try to wake up at 4 or 5 am the next day, that might be hard on you and it is likely that your day will be unproductive. And therefore consider this as a process and try waking up half an hour earlier than usual then work your way to the goal time. This is an easy way to transition into being a morning person.

 

  • Set the motive

 

Decide on the motive of wanting to be a morning person. Or what you want to accomplish by being a morning person. Having a set motive like this will motivate you to wake up in the morning and also enjoy the transitioning process and even enjoy your time in the morning.

 

  • Have a wake up strategy

 

A strategy to wake up and get out of bed is extremely necessary. This consists of your alarm and also what you would do soon after you wake up. There are many apps that are available that will have you solve a puzzle before you turn off your alarm, I have personally found this effective. Some suggestions for what you could do as soon as you wake up are opening your window or door, drinking a glass of water, making your bed or changing out of my pajamas, these activities usually take your mind off of sleep and will help you become a bit more alert.

Try out these strategies during the week and next week I will be back with 4 more suggestions next week.


Why have a morning routine?

Have you had those mornings where you struggle to get out of bed? I have, and I have also had mornings where it is effortless to get out of bed. Recognizing the difference that my morning activities have on my day has encouraged me to learn and research on some of the things that I can incorporate into my mornings. So thorough my journey of trying out various suggestions on the internet, I have come up with 4 reasons why I think one should have a morning routine.

 

  • It will allow you to take care of yourself

 

Taking care of ourselves is a term or concept that is foreign to many of us. We are always taught to take care of others and are not taught or encouraged to look after our own needs. But the irony is that we cannot take care of others or do anything unless we care for ourselves. I think that we should be a little selfish when it comes to taking care of ourselves on a daily basis. This can be in the form of exercising, doing a skin care routine or putting on some make-up, putting on some nice clothes, eating a good breakfast, taking some time to meditate and so on. What this does is boost our energy or confidence to tackle our daily tasks.

 

  • It will allow you to become healthier

 

When you have a morning routine, this will allow you to spend some time in the morning either meditating that can be good for your mind/brain, exercising which will help your body and eating that can give you the necessary energy to function during that day. And all of these things not only impact your day, but have a long term effect on you.

 

  • It will help you reduce stress

 

If you usually wake up 30 minutes before you have to head out the door, there is a high chance that you will not have time to think about anything as you might be multitasking in order to get out of your house so that you can make it in time for your class or work. But if you were to wake up an hour or an hour and half before you have to leave the house, that will give you enough time to stretch or exercise and even have breakfast. Many have attested that taking that extra hour or so in the morning to get ready, have your breakfast and even some time for meditation or devotion can do wonders to our day. As we are taking things more slowly because we have time, this will have a direct impact on our stress level.

 

  • More time on your plate

 

We are always competing with time. It’s a race that just seems never ending. Getting up earlier than your peers allows you to have time to work or study without being interrupted by those things that would during the day. And it is likely that you will be able to get more things done.

If you are now thinking that all this sounds good, but that you are not a morning person. Come back next week to know how you can create your own morning routine that will be easier to follow.


Tips for Better Sleep

Do you get frustrated because you can’t get a good sleep? Its not necessary that you will get a good sleep every night. There might be some mornings when you might feel like you only slept for since time, or that your sleep was not enough. Here are a few tips on how to get a good sleep.

1. Have a Regular Sleep-Wake Cycle

You might feel sleepy around the same time you fell asleep the previous day. This is the main reason why we should have a regular sleep time. If we sleep at a set time every day (say 10pm to 11pm) our body will get used to that and can easily fall asleep at that time.  Otherwise we might be in bed tossing and turning trying so hard to fall asleep and end up getting frustrated and getting off of the bed.

Our body is capable of remembering the time we wake up from our sleep. Thus during the same time the following day our body starts preparing to wake up. Which will prevent us from getting the needed sleep.

2. Have a Sleep-Friendly Environment

Since the environment impacts the quality of our sleep here are a few suggestions.

a) Bedding

Make sure you have a comfortable mattress and a pillow. Also make sure you have a bed big enough as you might change position during the night.

b) Light

We sleep better when there is less or no light around us. Thus try to sleep with very little light. If you are trying to nap during the day, you could cover your eyes with a dark piece of cloth.

c) Sound

Sound could easily wake us up from our sleep. If you are a person that can only sleep with music around you, try setting a timer for your music to shut off so that it won’t wake you up in the middle of the night.

d) Keep electronics away

Studies show that the use of electronic devices one hour before sleep could increase the time gap between the time our head hits the pillow and we actually fall asleep.

e) Temperature

Have a moderate temperature, so that you don’t wake up at night shivering with cold or drenched in sweat. Also cool temperature will get your body ready to sleep.

3. Avoid Heavy Dinner

When your stomach is too full, you might have a hard time sleeping. Especially if you have taken fatty foods or junk food for dinner. It is because our stomach has to work extra to digest. This which will result in loss of sleep. If you are hungry even after dinner, eat light ( like fruits, some milk, etc) so that it won’t disturb your sleep.

4. Have a bedtime routine

A bedtime routine could include making your bed ready, personal hygiene, moisturizing hands and legs, listening to a soft instrumental music or reading, prayer, etc. Create a routine for yourself and make it a point to do it every day before you go to bed. After some days our body starts responding accordingly and will help you to sleep faster. In a way this routine could be a message you are sending to your body, telling that it is time for bed.

Hope you have enjoyed this series on sleep.

To see the first post of this series, Better Sleep Better Life click here.

To see the second post of this series, Tips for a Better Sleep Environment click here.


Tips for a Better Sleep Environment

The need for proper sleep is absolutely vital. A good night of rest acts like a “reset” button for us. It rejuvenates us both physically and mentally. The best time to fall asleep is 10pm to midnight. The sleep during day time will not make us as rested as when we sleep at night. It is not just the time we sleep that affect our sleep but also our sleep environment. Here are a few tips to make a better sleep environment.

1. Bedding

For a comfortable rest it is very important that your mattress and pillow are comfortable for you. Everyone has a different definition for comfort, so find a mattress and pillow which makes you feel comfortable. Make sure your mattress is large enough because you are going to change your position quite a few times during sleep. Also changing your bedspreads and pillow covers on a regular basis of at least once a month is required.

2. Light

Have you ever compared how fast you fall asleep during day light and how fast you fall asleep when it is pitch dark? You sleep better in the dark. That is how our body works. When you sleep try to avoid all sorts of lights, even a night light. There are chances of you waking up during you sleep and this light could easily wake you up, or it could prevent you from getting a sound sleep the rest of the night. If you are trying to sleep during the day, try to prevent any sort of light from the outside by covering the windows.

3. Sound

Noises can prevent you from sleeping, or it keeps you in a state where you are partially awake. Our body is designed to respond to outside stimulus so it is common if we wake up hearing an unpleasant sound, whether it is in our room or across the street. Some people claim they can only sleep with music around them, they might need the music only to fall asleep so put a timer for your music or ask someone to turn it off one you are asleep. Try to minimize the sound around you when you sleep because only them can your body rest properly without distraction.

4. Keep electronics away

Electronics are a big distraction for us. It not only eats up our time during the day it also prevents us from getting a sound sleep. For some they can sleep the moment their head hits pillow and for some others it might take quite some time. Studies show that the use of electronic devices one hour before sleep could increase the time gap between the time our head hits the pillow and we actually fall asleep. Therefore set a time for you to shut off electronics one hour before you sleep.

5. Temperature

There are situations where we wake up from our sleep drenched in sweat or shivering from cold. By night time allow your room to get some cool air from the outside and also use air-conditioning or a fan to cool your room. Our body generally cools down when it is preparing for sleep, which is why it is good to have a cool environment when you sleep.


Better Sleep Better Life

Sleep might not sound important, but it is equally important as nutrition and physical activity. It is the time when our body and brain recharges and repairs itself for the following day. Sleeping for at least 6 – 8 hours a day is a necessity. Sleep plays an important role in our hormone production as well as regulation. Here are a five reasons why sleep is important.

1. Boost memory

Even when our body rests our brain does not. While sleeping our brain goes through the events of the day and tries to connect it with previous events, feelings, etc which make it easy for us to retrieve certain information in the future. The brain also consolidates what we’ve learned throughout the day. This process is important as certain information might not get stored and could be lost.

2. Lowers stress

If we get the sleep which is required we tend to feel relaxed in the mornings or else we get into a state of stress. This causes the increase of blood pressure and the production of more stress hormone. This increased blood pressure can cause many physical and mental health problems such as heart attacks and depression. Sleep does not mean you will not get stressed, but it will help you to cope with the stress that comes your way.

3. Gives more energy

Have you ever felt enthusiastic and energetic after a good sleep? Or even after a power nap? When we sleep our body is well rested. While we are asleep our brain goes through a revitalizing process that prepares us for the time when we are awake.

4. Elevates your mood

Too little sleep will make you irritable, annoyed, moody, emotional, etc. It even leaves you with less energy to do the things you like, which in turn make you unhappy. Getting the proper amount of sleep will not guarantee an amazing day. But it gives you a sense of satisfaction which is what we all crave for.

5. Balance your weight

Good sleep helps you to maintain the hormones which make you feel hungry. If your body is not well rested, the level of the hormone called Leptin which makes you feel full will come down making you to eat more than usual. Also when you are not well rested you crave for more sugar which makes you alert. These factors will cause you to eat more than usual and to crave for sugar. Proper sleep will regulate this helping you to manage your diet and to be fit.