“Turn off the clock” and other sleep essentials

Sleep. It’s one of the most essential parts of our well-being and yet so many of us don’t get enough of it. I’m not here to tell you to go to sleep earlier, but rather how to get more sleep than you’ve been getting previously, based off some experiences I’ve had recently.

The past few months I’ve been experimenting with a variety of little changes to my sleeping area, with the goal of getting more sleep by falling asleep more quickly.

Here are the changes I’ve made:

  • Hide my clock;
  • Quiet my music;
  • Keep a notebook and pen beside me.

Each of these experiments has yielded me varying levels of success. Of course, your mileage may vary.

Hide the alarm clock

Having my alarm clock and the time visible beside me was causing me unnecessary stress as I would check the time repeatedly. This would only serve to make me angry and worried at my slow progress into sleep.

Hiding the time on my alarm clock made me less worried about how long I was taking to fall asleep, bringing me to sleep earlier.

Quiet the music

I used to listen to a radio station with a very talkative host at a volume that was a bit loud. I’ve since changed the station and turned down the volume. What has this changed?

Previously, I would drift off into near-sleep during the music playing, only to snap out of it to listen to what the host had to say.

By turning down the radio, no longer do I find myself actively listening to it and what the host has to say. Rather, I now use the radio as a distraction, to block out the background noises of my house, and I drift off during the constant music.

This advice is probably going to yield the most variable response of the bunch, due to the different ways in which everyone responds to music. Some may find that turning off the music completely works better, while some may respond better to listening to something like pink noise.

Keep a notebook and pen near

My final tweak stemmed from the issue which often plagued me, where ideas would come to me during the various stages of sleep, and I would have nowhere to write them down. Then, I would either forget them, or, if they were particularly good, scramble about my bedroom to find paper and pen to write the idea down.

Inevitably, this scrambling for paper would bring me back to being fully awake. One solution would be to trust my memory to remember my ideas, but I don’t like to leave those things to chance with my bad memory.

So, my solution to this was to keep a notebook and pen by my side in order to write down this waterfall of good ideas, and avoid forgetting them.

Now I find myself remembering more while sleeping easier with the knowledge that my ideas are safe.

Make three simple tweaks

I made three simple tweaks to my sleeping environment, and I’ve found myself falling asleep faster and getting more out of the time I spend doing so as a result.

Of course, this is entirely anecdotal and your success with each of these changes will vary. I make no guarantee that what works well for me will do the same for anyone else.

What to take away from this article? I recommend the following:

  1. Take a long hard look at your habits while falling asleep. Consider what keeps you up at night, what isn’t working.
  2. Build a list of small tweaks you could make to address some of your issues.
  3. Pick three of your tweaks.
  4. Act upon your tweaks.
  5. Evaluate what’s working and what isn’t after a period of time (I would recommend a week at least).

There you have it. A simple guide to follow in order to make your falling asleep experience that much better.

Give it a shot. Before you know it, you’ll be falling asleep faster than before.

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