What does it take for you to sleep tight? Is it a sleep routine you practice every night like clockwork? Is it a steady regimen of exercise throughout the week to keep your body in shape? This post examines the importance of sleep, how to improve your sleep hygiene so you can sleep tight, and 9 testimonials about sleep.
What is Sleep and Why is it Important?
The definition of sleep is the condition of body and mind recurring for several hours every night in which the nervous system is relatively inactive, the eyes are closed, the postural muscles are relaxed, and consciousness has been suspended.
In other words, sleep is the most important function for recharging your body and mind after a complete day. Some find it comes to them easier than others.
Many have trouble sleeping tight, maintaining a sleep schedule, and practicing good sleep hygiene. Some listen to sleep music and wake up fully rested. Others suffer from sleep apnea and require help from the sleep sciences to have them drift off into wonderland.
I often look for sleep hacks to enhance not only the quality of my sleep, but the amount I can get at night. I want to make sure I sleep tight and feel well-rested for the coming day.
My Sleep Schedule
Recently, I’ve taken up a new sleep schedule where I get to bed and fall asleep between 8-9pm and wake the next morning between 4-5am. This gets me 8 hours of sleep and doing this has helped me to feel more productive throughout the day. I can be awake during hours people typically aren’t while also removing hours at the end of the day which weren’t particularly impactful.
My wife, on the other hand, prefers 9-11 hours and is practically a sleeping beauty. Different strokes for different folks.
I’ve experimented with multiple sleep schedules in order to have that sleep tight feeling. I do so in the attempt to improve my sleep quality and possibly the duration of sleep I receive.
What is Sleep Hygiene and How Can I Improve It?
I have read one of the most important practices someone can do to improve their sleep hygiene is to spend the appropriate amount of time asleep in bed. This means not allocating too little time for sleep but also choosing to sleep in and disrupt your normal sleep schedule.
Sleep hygiene consists of multiple practices, routines and habits necessary to have the best nighttime sleep quality. Doing so should result in a full day of mental and physical alertness. In other words, how to sleep hack yourself into a good night of sleep.
To promote a healthy sleep hygiene, I have found the following practices help:
- Exercise regularly. I attempt to run 3 times per week when I am training for an endurance race (typically consist of runs in excess of 10-15 miles and two shorter runs by comparison). However, during my off-season, I primarily target base aerobic capabilities and will run twice per week.
- Avoid daytime naps, or limiting them to under 30 minutes. Some people can nap and sleep just fine later that night. I am not one of those people. If I nap at all, you can add 2-3 hours to when I can realistically expect to fall asleep. Some cite napping as an important way to improve mood, alertness and performance. If you can make it work for you, I suggest you follow what’s best for your sleep schedule.
- Steer clear of food which can be disruptive right before sleep. I attempt to use intermittent fasting with my diet by eating within a confined time window. This means I don’t typically eat foods which can disrupt my sleep so close to bed like fried, heavy or rich foods, spicy dishes, carbonated drinks, or anything which could trigger indigestion or heartburn.
- Establish a regular and relaxing bedtime routine. This has been a point of emphasis in my life recently. I know sleep is one of the most important determinants for longevity, happiness, healthspan, and overall quality of life. Skimping on sleep will have long-term consequences, while getting the appropriate amount for you sets you up for success. Because of this, I have a regular bedtime routine which helps my body recognize it is time for sleep. I reduce my exposure to light, wear earplugs, and assume a relaxing sleep position which allows me to drift off to sleep.
- Avoid stimulants like caffeine before going to bed. I avoid any caffeine after 12pm. If I have any later than that, I’m likely to feel wired the rest of the day and will not sleep tight. I’ve known someone who can drink an entire pot of coffee at 10pm during a study session and be fast asleep by 11pm. He sleeps like a baby despite the 12 cups of coffee pulsing through his veins. It’s remarkable how diverse people’s bodies are.
- Reducing exposure to light as you near bedtime. Since I’ve started blogging, I’ve had issues with this but have managed to identify the time I need to be in bed and shut off everything 30 minutes prior. I use a blue light filter on my iPhone which removes the color your brain associates with daylight from your screen. I’ve found this to be a useful sleep hack over the last couple years because I usually look at my phone before falling asleep.
I feel doing all of these have improved my sleep hygiene and allowed me to transition to my current early-to-bed, early-to-rise sleep schedule.
Getting the Right Amount of Sleep
Truthfully, I have always been a light sleeper who wakes up multiple times during the night. I have sleep regressions constantly where I will sleep well for a week or two and suddenly am struck with sleep insomnia.
To combat this, I use melatonin most nights. Doing so has resulted in more consistent sleep and rarely results in sleep inertia the following morning.
Sleep experts talk about how people go through multiple sleep stages at night. I crave that deep sleep where the body recharges but know it can be elusive. Maintaining good sleep hygiene practices like those listed above help me to sleep tight and maintain a healthy sleep schedule.
No matter your sleep time, whether you sleep 6 hours, or sleep 12 hours, a sleep schedule is important for helping you to sleep tight. Read how these 9 people sleep tight and what they think about sleep in general. Hopefully their sleep stories help you develop an understanding of your sleep needs.
Personal Finance Posts:
Should You Invest or Pay Off Student Loans
5 Simple Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster
When Investing in Index Funds, Do as the French Do
How to Save Money and Get the Most Out of Life
Seeking Financial Independence?
Start here with useful resources
Sleep is such a huge part of living a happy healthy life. I know that when I don’t get a good night’s sleep, I feel terrible the day after and don’t get anything done. That’s why I always try to get a good night of sleep every night if I want to be productive the next day.
To me a good night’s sleeps means a full uninterrupted 8 hours and I’ve gotten to a point where I get that almost every night. The key to a good night’s sleep is consistency. I’m in bed at 9:30 P.M. at the latest most nights and try to turn off all screens at least 30 minutes before that.
That means no TV or phone usage after 9. I find that exercising during the day helps a lot too even if it’s something simple like some planks although I don’t suggest doing anything too close to bedtime. Caffeine was a big negative for my sleeping habits too, so I cut that out of my life a few years ago.
Once I’m in bed at 9:30, I spend about 30 minutes reading something on my Kindle before my eyes basically close on their own and I fall into a deep sleep. I wake up like clockwork around 6 A.M. well rested and ready to take on the day. I find that waking up early gives me a few hours in the morning to do something productive before I head off to work.
Overall, I think good sleep is something you must work on but it’s something that pays off in droves once you have it down. The key is a good consistent approach to get your body used to the sleeping cycle. I’ve tried a lot of things throughout my life when it comes to good sleep and found that keeping it simple is best.
Get in bed at the same time each night, exercise and eat healthy and avoid screens an hour before bed. If you do drink Caffeine, don’t drink it after noon because that stuff can last a while! The important thing with sleep is that it takes a while to build good habits.
If you’re currently not sleeping well, don’t expect change to happen overnight. After all, you’ve probably got 20-30 years of bad sleeping habits that your body has gotten used to so it’ll take a while to get it used to something else.
Life is all about trade-offs, and sleep is no exception. Ideally, I know I need a fixed sleep schedule. That means getting into a routine of going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
The only problem with that is that life gets in the way. Sometimes you stay up late for work, watching a movie, or celebrating a friend’s birthday.
I personally feel that I need at least 7 hours of sleep a night to feel awesome the next day. I also know that I don’t have a lot of flexibility or control over the time I need to wake up in the morning because my infant child is always up exactly at 7am (give or take a few mins).
That means that the only lever I have control over is the time I go to bed (or at least try to go to bed at).
Does knowing this help me get to bed on time every day? No, but it definitely allows me to better make tradeoffs. If I need to stay up past 11pm to get something done, I know I will be tired the next day and I can make an informed decision. If I know I need to do something that requires a decent amount of attention the next day, then I will make a bigger effort to head to bed on time.
I’ve never been one to fall into the mindset of wake up super early or go to bed at a certain time to boost productivity. However, I do find getting a somewhat consistent routine down keeps your body and mind well adjusted for the day.
For my specific productivity, I’ve discovered that 7-8 hours of sleep is my sweet spot. I used to go 5-6 hours (or less sometimes) in my mid-twenties, but I’ve found a better balance for me now.
I generally eat small snack around 9pm and then either read a book or spend sometime catching up on some Netflix series I may be watching at the time. I generally avoid work emails and trying to do anything with the blog after 8-9pm. I’ve been trying to get better about not accessing my phone either and staying off social media before bed. I find it helps keep my mind at ease and off mobile technology.
I also do not have any secrets of falling asleep faster or longer. I’ve been fortunate all my life to be a quick sleeper and not waking up much in the middle of the night. There are of course some times where that hasn’t held true, but generally 9/10 times I won’t have any sleep issues.
I think the best thing anyone can do is remove technology and work from your mind, do something that really relaxes you. Stress and overthinking make it really hard to fall asleep or stay asleep without constantly waking up. Easier said than done, but find that thing that will help.
It took me a long time to admit this, but my body just needs more sleep than the average recommendation of 7-8 hours.
If I could craft the ideal sleep schedule, I would go to bed around 11pm and wake up at 8am (9 hours). Unfortunately, modern society is not kind to those that need a lot of sleep and are also night owls, so my work schedule usually gets in the way of getting enough sleep. Also, solid, uninterrupted sleep is a thing of the past with a 3 and 1 year old in the house.
Perhaps one of the benefits of never getting enough sleep is that I don’t have to practice any kind of \”sleep hygiene\” to fall asleep. Once my head hits the pillow, I’m out. A fact my wife constantly reminds me of as she often struggles to get to sleep while I’m snoring away.
Every season of life is different, so I’m hoping once the kids are a little older I can make sleep more of a priority. Balancing a full time job, kids, side hustles, and a blog forces me to make hard choices when it comes to how much sleep I get each night.
Sleep is an elusive thing for me at times. Getting a good night’s sleep has everything to do with my productivity during the day. There are two things that help or hurt my sleep. Number one for me is exercise. I practice yoga regularly.
Specifically, it’s power Vinyasa (heated). My wife and I try to get at least three a week in our schedules. On off days, we supplement with aerobics and weight training. When I keep to a regular schedule, I usually get a good night’s sleep. When I don’t, I’m restless and often toss and turn.
I find my sleep need has increased as I’ve aged. If I can consistently get between 7 and 8 hours, I feel pretty good the next day. The other thing impacting my sleep is what’s going on in my life. If my mind is racing about my blog, my financial advice business, or another issue taking up space in my head, I get less sleep.
On nights when I know these things are happening, I take melatonin. That takes the edge up and doesn’t make me feel drowsy the next day. The #1 key for me is sticking to my exercise schedule. If I do that, I usually get the good night’s sleep I need.
As a pulmonologist who also practice a bit of sleep medicine, i feel that I should answer this in a more systematic and evidence based way.
For each question, I will say what I do in my own life that worked for me and what the evidence says. First, I will dive in a little into the importance of sleep and its impact on every day life.
We (humans) totally underestimate the effect of good sleep/lack thereof has on our body and everyday life. The effect of sleep deprivation and sleep deficiency ranges from decrease efficiency to mood disorders. I have met patients who lost their marriages due to sleep. I have cut my take into two parts on this matter with data to back it up.
- What is the ideal sleep schedule to optimize productivity? – I sleep on average between 4-5 hours and i feel productive. I can work my normal 12 hours shift and even work extra shifts and work a whole 24 hours without coffee. However, I should not be doing this based on the evidence. There are many schools of thoughts on how much sleep humans need, but the majority of specialists nailed it around 7-8 hours a day for adults. Since humans are basically the only mammal that resist the urge to sleep, are we really the superior race? At least not in sleep matters. Shift workers especially are at risk for cardiovascular disease, decreased immune response and gastrointestinal issues due to lack of proper sleep. There is also evidence that more medical errors occurs due to lack of sleep and attempt has been made to reduce the work hours for doctors in training as a result. This study supported the theoretical framework that the body does not have the opportunity to restore itself and the brain to full performance and efficient status when we are sleep deprived. Not good.
- Do you have any tricks to get a good night of sleep? I need to work on that department, however, I tend to always work till I am tired, and when I sleep, I actually do sleep well until my alarm clock wakes me up. There are some thought that some people might be functional short sleepers, but then, the other side proved that we all feel the effect of less sleep even without realizing it. This article talks about the 11 tips to get a good night rest. I read it and the steps here are essentially what we learned in medical school and what studies suggested. They are easy to follow, in fact they don’t cost you more money. Unfortunately, we doctors are the worst offenders. Trust me, I can help you sleep better but I don’t get enough sleep myself.
Who needs sleep? Well, you’re never gunna get it. Who needs sleep? Tell me what’s that for?
Sleep plays a wildly important role in your health and well-being. Getting enough sleep will help to maintain your mental and physical health.
Fun Fact: as you sleep neural pathways are created to improve your memory and cognitive ability. (badass, right?)
It’s like recharging your phone battery, except it’s your brain… and way more powerful. (POW POW)
But, what is there a perfect amount of sleep, or a schedule everyone should follow? Personally, I don’t believe there is. Some people love to go to bed early and wake up early. Others (like myself) are night owls. Staying up until midnight or 1am, and waking around 7am.
I don’t believe there is a perfect sleep schedule, but the recommended amount of sleep for an adult is 7-8 hours. I would have to agree with this recommendation. I feel best if I get a solid 7 hours, and feel sluggish with less than 7 and more than 8.
I’ve found that I fall asleep quickly if I’ve had a day full of mental and physical stimulation. The more work I put in, the quicker I drift off into sweet, sweet slumber.
Finally, don’t get caught up in what works for someone else. Do what feels right for YOUR body. After all, you won’t get a badge of honor for getting up at 4am if you end up staring at the wall like a zombie by lunch.
Sleep is such an integral part of not only living a happy and healthy life, but maintaining an excellent level of productivity. There are a ton of studies out there that show the effects of getting the proper amount of sleep and it’s effectiveness on our overall health and productivity.
However, I’m going to speak a little bit about my personal experiences. Everyone is different and what works for me may not be ideal for someone else, so keep that in mind and find a sleep pattern that works best for you! In order for me to feel fully charged, I need about 6 hours of sleep per night.
I’ve actually found for me personally, if I get more sleep, I tend to wake up feeling more tired and sluggish, and I have a less productive day. To prepare for sleep, I don’t do much honestly. I have a small routine where I brush my teeth, take out my contacts, etc, but outside of that, I simply lay down and head for dreamland.
I wish I had some secret that allowed me to simply fall asleep quickly, but I have never had a problem with falling asleep. I will offer one piece of advice though. I often work late at night on my digital marketing business and on my blog and I have a cutoff time for myself.
I know I need 6 hours of sleep as my optimal amount and I typically wake up at 6:00am, so I set myself a cutoff of midnight. I attempt to get everything I need to get done for the night accomplished by midnight, and if I’m not able to do that, I save and carry on the next day.
Now, there are the occasional exceptions where I do go over that cutoff in order to finish up something critical, however by setting this deadline for myself I’m typically able to ensure that I get the proper amount of sleep each night that I personally need to hit my ideal level of sleep and be the happiest, healthiest, and most productive version of myself possible.
Again, find your optimal amount as we are all different, and then put steps into place to ensure you are able to hit that optimal amount of sleep for yourself!
I’m not going to lie. I’m a big fan of sleep. For me personally, 7 hours of sleep is the sweet spot for me to optimize my productivity when I’m working my regular job.
When on vacation or doing more physical activities, I’ll adjust my sleep schedule to meet those demands, which might mean more or less sleep depending on the circumstances. So a typical night is lights out at 10:30 pm and get up at 6 am. The extra half-hour gives me a little buffer wind down, fall asleep and get in my 7 hours.
The sleep rules I try to follow are no food after 9 pm each night, and the latest I would have any caffeine is 8 pm. These two rules help me fall asleep fast, any change in those routines and I do see an effect in my quality of sleep.
I believe good quality sleep is key to both physical and mental health. Just ask anyone who is having trouble sleeping, and how stress they are over it.
Personal Finance Posts:
About the Author and Blog
In 2018, I was winding down a stint in investor relations and found myself newly equipped with a CPA, added insight on how investors behave in markets, and a load of free time. My job routinely required extended work hours, complex assignments, and tight deadlines. Seeking to maintain my momentum, I wanted to chase something ambitious.
I chose to start this financial independence blog as my next step, recognizing both the challenge and opportunity. I launched the site with encouragement from my wife as a means to lay out our financial independence journey to reach a Millennial retirement and connect with and help others who share the same goal.
I have not been compensated by any of the companies listed in this post at the time of this writing. Any recommendations made by me are my own. Should you choose to act on them, please see my the disclaimer on my About Young and the Invested page.