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SLEEP HABIT

Sleep Ritual

Winding down for the night.

WHAT:

This healthy habit is about doing a set of behaviours that tell your brain it’s time to calm down, focus less on your to-do list, and focus more on falling asleep.

WHY:

A sleep ritual is a set of behaviours that help to facilitate good sleep.

Just like how you can’t go from 0 to 100 first thing in the morning, you can’t do the reverse and go from 100 to 0 last thing at night either.

Your body and mind need time to wind down and de-stress, making a slow transition from being super busy and alert to being more calm and relaxed.

There are many different obstacles that might get in the way of you getting a good night’s sleep, but the biggest one within your control is whether or not you have a good sleep ritual or bedtime routine.

Another benefit of a sleep ritual is that it will put you in control of your evenings, helping to protect you from sleep disruptors that may decrease your chance of sleeping restfully.

HOW:

Ideally, getting a good night’s sleep starts in the morning and continues throughout the day.

The right day-time activities will help set you up for a successful night’s sleep. But as the day comes to an end, your evening sleep ritual becomes even more important. It has a bigger immediate impact on the quality and quantity of your sleep that night.

Check out the Sleekgeek Sleep Ritual for ideas.

You may not be able to do every single one of these recommendations, and that’s OK. Start where you are and do what you can. Small incremental changes will make a big difference to your journey to getting better sleep.

In the beginning, maybe you’re adding in only 1 thing, like listening to some calming music before bed. Or maybe making a small tweak during the day like swapping your coffees after 1pm to decaf. Experiment and notice what works for you, then do more of that more consistently.

Sleep, like everything else in health and fitness, is not “all-or-nothing”. Rather aim for progress rather than perfection because “something” is better than “nothing”.

Olivia, a 35-year-old graphic designer, had been struggling with sleep for as long as she could remember. Her demanding job often required her to work late, and she found herself constantly wired, unable to wind down at night. Her sleep deprivation was affecting not only her work performance but also her mood and overall health.

Things began to change when Olivia read more about the importance of a sleep ritual. She realised that she needed to help her body and mind make that transition from being super busy and alert to being more calm and relaxed.

Inspired, she decided to create her own.

First, she set a strict rule to stop using electronic devices 30 minutes before bed. Instead, she would read a book, listen to calming music, or do some gentle stretches. She also introduced a nightly cup of herbal tea, which she would enjoy in the dim light of her living room, allowing her mind to relax.

As she started paying more attention to her sleep ritual, Olivia also noticed that her bedroom environment was not conducive to sleep, so she made some changes. She invested in blackout curtains and kept the temperature cool. She also introduced a small lavender-scented diffuser, as she’d read about the benefits of aromatherapy for sleep.

Perhaps the most significant change Olivia made was to her mindset. Every night, just before lying down, she would write three things she was grateful for in a journal. This simple practice helped shift her focus from the day’s stresses to a state of gratitude and calm.

Within weeks, Olivia began to notice a difference. She found it easier to fall asleep and felt more refreshed in the morning. Her new routine had not only improved her sleep but also her overall well-being. Olivia’s story is a testament to the power of a consistent bedtime routine in transforming one’s sleep and, by extension, one’s life.

TIPS:

Habit Stacking: If you already have a nightly routine, like brushing your teeth, use it as a cue. “After I brush my teeth, I’ll start my sleep ritual by grabbing my book to read a few chapters.”

Environment Design: Place your sleep ritual tools (a book, journal, eye mask, etc) by your bedside. Making them easily accessible reduces friction.

Two-Minute Rule: Start simply. If your entire sleep ritual feels too long, begin with just two minutes of a calming activity. Once that’s a habit, you can gradually expand.

Incremental Progress: Remember, it’s not about perfection. It’s about consistency. Even if you only manage part of your ritual, it’s a step in the right direction.

Accountability: Share your goal with a friend, family member, or coach. Checking in with them or having them ask about your progress can motivate you to stick with it.

Contract with Yourself: Write down your commitment to your sleep ritual and place it somewhere visible. This self-agreement can be a strong motivator.

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