Why you should tidur tenang tonight, more so during a pandemic

In every self-help book I have read about productivity and happiness, sleep hygiene is always prioritized without fail!

Quick fact – Getting an extra hour of sleep would do more for a person’s daily happiness compared to a $60,000 raise.

Like DJ Khalid, imma give you another one: Millions of people are still not getting their recommended 7-8 hours of sleep, which subsequently, only lowers their immunity and makes them prone to jatuh sakit.

And during a pandemic, whereby our healthcare system is overwhelmed, you don’t want to be adding yourself to the number of people who got sick from preventable illnesses.

Right now is a great time to be thinking about improving your sleep hygiene. In the same way we are rightfully obsessed with washing our hands thoroughly and social distancing, you should also add sleeping better to that arsenal of cultivating good health!

The selfless act of getting sufficient sleep

I do recognise that for a lot of people, the act of prioritizing yourself to get enough rest, over your usual responsibilities might seem selfish or unproductive. I am here to challenge that by saying: by losing sleep, you are only reducing your own energy which is then affecting your performance and mood for worse the next day.

To have sufficient and good sleep is a kind necessity you must, must, must give to your body – it is not selfish, in fact, it is selfless when you take into account that you being in better health and in a better mood, also results in better social interactions throughout your day, with your loved ones.

How I track my sleep

I love this topic because I personally have been working on improving my own sleep routine for almost a year now! Admittedly, it is still a work-in-progress. However, the RMO has provided me with an unprecedented time of predictability and control over my schedule, and I have steadily been getting deeper sleep each night.

Last year, I bought myself and my partner, Kula a pair of Mi Band 4, to help us track our hours of sleep and how much deep sleep we are getting each night. I then document this data the next day in my bullet journal – on my dedicated ‘Sleep Tracker’ spread.

I feel like I have learnt and experimented with so many different sleep strategies, but here are the five that really worked for me which I continue to practice till today.

This might not work for you, so I highly suggest you continue reading into this to ensure you get your best sleep soon!

No caffeine nor alcohol at night

For a while, I had a misconception that if I had a drink just before bed, it would make me sleepy faster! It’s true, I did get woozy and sleep real quick, but this came with the cost of poorer quality sleep, ie shorter deep sleep. I abstain from alcohol nowadays, unless it’s for a very special occasion.

I don’t drink coffee much, but if I absolutely have to, I would NEVER dare drink any coffee beyond 5 PM. You are not doing your body any favor by having an evening/night time coffee! Alternatively, drink herbal tea. Some time last year, I went through a phase of terrible sleep + nightmares, so Kula bought me some lavender tea – which was very calming, made me feel pretty lux (not gonna lie) and most importantly, makes me sleepy!

Bye-bye phone

This was such a struggle to execute y’all. All the research is clear – stop using your phone at least one hour before you sleep, yet the best I could do was ‘minimal usage’ because I still fiddled with my Spotify night playlist (to get the best vibes ya’ know) and I can’t help but double-check my alarm clock every night.

If you are also unable to put away/silent your phone ahead of your bed time, I would suggest you at least turn-off notifications from your most distracting apps. I personally have my FB, Twitter and Insta notifications snoozed off at all times. I also don’t reply Whatsapp messages post 8 PM. Replies can always wait! These apps are designed to keep you hooked and to keep scrolling, so don’t fall into their temptation traps at night.

Tbh, I am actually still figuring out solutions to this, eg Kula got us an analog alarm clock so I didn’t have to fidget with my phone at night anymore – but then the clock rosak pulak, adoi. I’ve yet to purchase a new one.

Indulge in a calm, ‘me’ activity

As part of my evening routine, I will 1) turn on the aircond in my room for an hour 2) do 10 – 20 minutes of evening yoga and then 3) have 20-30 minutes of reading before the lights go off. Honestly, I really enjoy doing bedtime yoga because it is so soothing and my body feels so good after doing all the stretches. If you work sitting down like I do, YO, FOR SRS, just do bedtime yoga for even 5 minutes. Your back will thank you.

Reading before bedtime is still kinda controversial, cause technically, you should not be stimulating your mind as much. But reading at night really works for me, cause it is very calming, very ‘me’ oriented and it defo makes me sleepy at the end! Which brings me just in time to –

Turn off the light in your bedroom

This is a very senang way for you to align yourself with your body’s circadian clock – minimize or turn off the lights completely when you are about to go to bed, ideally an hour before! Even during toilet breaks, I keep the lights off so my body knows it is supposed to be shutting down right now. I also have an eye mask for nights when Kula is working in the room next to my bedroom where the light can’t help but seep in.

Also, if you have not already, please install a blue-light filter app on all your devices so they can adapt their brightness according to the time of the day. I personally use Twilight on my Android and this has reduced my eye-strain so much. You can alter the brightness level and warmth level to ensure you are not hit with that painful, bright blue light at night.

But what if you are not sleepy yet? The urge can be strong to reach out to your phone at this time to check your social media or worse – to watch something on YT/Netflix. Please don’t do this – you are betraying your entire routine by doing this. Instead, if you absolutely have to, just put on a sleep podcast/playlist or listen to a meditation app. I used to listen to the sleep meditations in the ‘Stop, Breathe & Think’ app if I am very anxious at night.

The most important tip: Consistent bedtime & waking up time

Of all the strategies, I used to struggle with this the most, due to my erratic schedule – between work, having dinner with Kula, and other social outings with friends- I tend to go to sleep and wake up at such different times. I, unfortunately, didn’t give my body sufficient predictability, and true enough, when I got my Mi Band, the data did not lie.

Whilst I was getting the minimum of 7 hours of sleep, my sleep quality was abysmal! I was only getting an average of 40 minutes to 1 hour of deep sleep, compared to the healthy average of 2 -3 hours of deep sleep per night. I have since become more mindful to say no to certain engagements so I can head to bed at a consistent time.

During a RMO timeframe, I believe most people have also been slacking off on having a consistent bedtime/waking up time. However, now is the best time to fix this, as you have no other activities to pull you away from home. Undeniably, this requires the most discipline but then again, this is a very rewarding and helpful tip for your body. It is no surprise that the top performers of the world protect their sleep carefully – with very clearly defined sleeping/waking up times. Keep your sleep time as sacred as possible!

Sleeping well is so underrated despite all evidence showing otherwise. Do yourself and your body a favor by blocking off some time tonight for yourself to settle in into bed. Start with one or two tips first, and hopefully, soon enough you will find the best rhythm for yourself!

I genuinely love this topic and would love to know if you have your own set of routine when settling into bed. Let me know and happy sleeping, kawan-kawan!

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Do share this post if it was helpful for you because as a brand new blog, I need all the help I can get!

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