Sleep is one of the most powerful tools for productivity and all-around well-being. But too many of us are struggling with consistent sleep routines that work with our natural rhythms.
It’s so important to get a good sleep routine down. Insomnia actually costs the world economy $818 billion per year in lost productivity!
And it’s not much better on an individual level. Grogginess, grumpiness, even a lowered immune system — this isn’t something to mess around with.
Julie Wright, author of The Natural Sleeper, knows firsthand how damaging sleep deprivation can be. After conventional treatments failed to address her own sleep challenges, she turned to alternative therapies and found success.
Julie joined me on my live-streaming show Inside Scoop to share her suggestions for getting a better night’s sleep.
1) Know your chronotype.
Chronotype is just a fancy word for your sleep profile — something that’s genetically determined. Being an early riser or night owl should figure into your routine.
Of course, we can’t all choose when we start work and get out of bed. But Julie says that knowing whether you do your best thinking early in the morning or late at night is helpful for scheduling your work for your most productive hours.
Part of your chronotype is also how much sleep you need. For example, some people function best with eight or nine hours, while others do well with seven. Julie recommends taking note of how your body feels with different amounts of sleep and trying to give yourself what you need. This is one more way to tap into your own personal productivity style as sleep goes hand in hand. It’s something that I walk you through in my book Listful Living as well.
2) Incorporate mindfulness and meditation.
If you’re getting low-quality sleep, matching up with your chronotype won’t do you any good. Julie says that developing meditation practice can actually relax your body by letting your central nervous system know that it’s time to relax.
Julie suggests controlled abdominal breathing, where you put one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Then, breathe in and out so that your stomach rises and falls. Breathe in as you count to four, then hold as you count to seven, and breathe out for eight seconds. This breath work can help you clear your mind and calm down. This is a breathing technique that Dr. Andrew Weil developed.
3) Leverage sound.
We usually think of sound as something that prevents us from falling asleep. But Julie says that sounds — the right ones — can actually be a useful tool in helping us fall asleep and stay asleep.
She suggests experimenting with white noise, pink noise, and brown noise — all variations on soothing background sounds that you can play from your phone or other tech devices. These can block out sounds that make it hard to sleep. They can also create “brain entrainment,” in which your brain waves slow down to match the sounds. That can help you fall asleep!
Julie also says listening to ASMR may be useful for some people. ASMR is a phenomenon in which certain sounds, like whispering and crunching, produce a relaxing effect. There are apps like Calm that have a whole library dedicated to this. Or you can simply check out YouTube as well.
Getting a good night’s sleep isn’t rocket science. But when you’re struggling to get high-quality sleep, having a routine and science-backed strategies can make all the difference.
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