6 Ways to Get to Sleep

We just wanted check in yet again to talk about something that’s been on our minds lately because we see it affecting so many people. That thing is sleep.

One of the first questions we asked you back in your consultation was how many hours of sleep you got a night. Almost everyone says around 6 hours of sleep and they all wish they could get more.

Ok, the recognition is there. We need more sleep. Good.

Then we asked you about your bedtime routine. And…and…crickets. While, virtually everyone would like to get more sleep, almost no one has actually settled into a good bedtime routine.

When I was getting up at 5:00am everyday for 15 years as a trader Chicago, it was imperative that I had my routine down. I needed to be in bed and asleep by 10pm to even get a full 7 hours of sleep. The difference for me was settling into a good routine that worked for me. I had virtually the same routine the whole time, with a few adjustments here and there for minor changes in my life, like kids. (Ok, that was a joke.) Before kids my routine was like living in a peaceful snow globe sitting on the table. The kids were more like someone picking up my snow globe and shaking the hell out of it. But I digress…

Like everything we do here, we know that different things work for different people and that you are an individual who has to find your own routine. I will though, give you some ideas to let you know what has worked for me.

1. Consistent Bedtime

I reverse engineered my days. I knew that I had to get up at 5am. Ok, so that meant I had to be asleep by 10pm to get my 7 hours. Ok, that meant I had to have my kids in bed by 7pm to give myself time to do some work, reading, and shower berfore 9:30. Kids in bed by 7pm meant I had to be done eating by 6pm which meant I had to have dinner on the table by 5:30pm, which meant I had to start dinner by 5pm. Once I had that figured out it was easy. I had one thing to think about that would give me the best chance at 10pm bedtime…start dinner by 5pm. NO MATTER WHAT. There was no more wondering why we couldn’t get to bed on time. We knew that if we could start the dominos on time, we could finish on time. It’s so simple and it works like a charm.

2. Eat Right

This would seem to be common sense. Don’t eat a ton right before bed, especially foods that take longer to digest like fats. If you are really hungry eat some simple, clean carbs like a piece of fruit. Also, don’t throw down two pints of water before bed, you will be rolling around and have to get up to hit the bathroom. Bad news.

3. Grab a Shower

This was a huge part of my routine. I showered every night just before bed to relax. Also because I can’t get into bed dirty, but that’s another story. The hot shower will put you in the right state of relaxation to fall asleep faster.

4. Find Your Temp

Find the right sleep temperature for YOU. You can find people that suggest temps anywhere from 65-72 degrees and your house may be set to keep your little ones comfy. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine says you should find your own temp and as we all know, everyone is different. If your kids like it warmer than you, crack a window in the winter or use a fan in the summer. The bottom line is to keep your room at whatever temp works for you. Find your zone and pray your spouse likes the same temp.

5. Darkness

This should seem obvious as well, but we’ve found so many people that keep dim rooms instead of dark rooms. Blue lights from electronics and white light from bulbs mess with your natural circadian sleep rhythms and you’ll get less than ideal sleep if you can fall asleep at all. We actually put electrical tape over the alarm system lights to make it pitch black in our room.

6. Unplug

The way things are going, this will possibly be the most important of the bunch. Turn your phone off an hour before bed. “Oh no! This isn’t possible!!” you say. Really? Ten years ago you wouldn’t have done anything but turn off your phone. Your RAZR didn’t get the internet and you had a conversation with your spouse or read a real paper book. We all need to get back to that. As we mentioned before, your phone messes with your body clock. New research from Bringham and Women’s hospital in Boston suggests that light from your phone and e-reader impact how deeply you sleep and how alert you are the next day. So step away from the phone, grab a paper book, or talk with your spouse if you want that good deep sleep.

Bonus: Morning Routine

Set up a morning routine to keep your mind from racing at night. When you have everything ready to roll in the morning it will make falling asleep much more peaceful.

As we said before and will undoubtedly say again…everyone is different. Just because this stuff worked for me doesn’t mean it’s the Holy Grail of Sleep for everyone. Do the work, pay attention, a