Jun 062013 2 Responses

How I Gained an Extra Hour of Sleep per Night

Since High School, I’ve struggled to sleep. Once I’m asleep I have no trouble staying asleep, but I’ve never gone to sleep easily.

It has always been a normal routine for me to lay awake and stare at the ceiling, reviewing every aspect of my day.

At no point is this worse than on a Sunday night after preaching several times and having many interactions with people, I often find myself on Sunday nights dead tired but unable to sleep.

What has been a constant struggle recently became a more serious issue as I was not getting enough rest to be effective during the day. I knew I shouldn’t continue to operate on such little sleep so I consulted my doctor.

He made some suggestions, I did some research and the result has been two months of the best sleep of my life.

The most important change I have made is I have changed my nightly routine.

As tired as I was, I was doing things which were making it less likely for me to go to sleep.

By not going to bed at a regular time, watching too much television close to when I would go to bed, and by failing to redirect my mind on other things, I was hindering my ability to sleep.

By creating a new routine, I was able to stop hurting my chances of sleeping and start making it more likely for me to go to sleep.

Here is my new routine.

Every night I:

  • go to bed earlier than usual (10pm compared to 12 or 12:30pm)
  • take a small dose of melatonin
  • read for 30 minutes
  • and then go to sleep

This new routine has made it much easier to go to sleep on a regular basis and is quickly becoming a habit.

The most destructive thing I was doing before my new routine was watching television before bed. It felt like I was unwinding but that was not the affect it had on my body.

Yet I didn’t just stop watching television and try to go to sleep. Instead I replaced a bad habit with a good one. By reading every night, my mind was directed off of the events of my day and onto other things. It allowed my mind to relax as well as allowing my eyes to slowly adjust to darkness—a dim reading light vs. flashing light on a large television screen.

My new routine still isn’t perfect, but a few months in and I feel much better.

What can you do to pick up an extra hour of sleep every night?

2 Responses to How I Gained an Extra Hour of Sleep per Night

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Please enter your name, email and a comment.