evening rituals

How To Get Better Sleep: 3 No-Nonsense Tactics For Improving Sleep

Most people are not getting the best amount of sleep possible.

Notice how I didn’t say “not enough sleep”. You can always get more sleep, but that does not mean you should, or that it will benefit you. A lot of people are oversleeping without even realizing it. A lot of people are also sleep deprived without realizing it.

How can YOU figure out if you are getting enough, or too much sleep? How to get a better sleep? Why should you even care about your sleep?

All of these questions (and more) are answered in this video:

FREE Download: how ultra-successful people schedule their days (and how YOU can do it too) – get it here.


How to get better sleep? How do you optimize your sleep so you can wake up with so much physical and mental energy that your reach your productivity heights every day?

Your health, your energy and your overall productivity are directly related to the quality of your sleep.

If you don’t sleep well, or if you don’t sleep enough, you don’t have enough energy. If you don’t have enough energy, you cannot be productive. As your energy goes down, so does your creativity, your imagination, your focus, your concentration… all the major skills needed to get the job done.

Sleep is also hot topic online. A quick search on your favorite search engine will reveal tons of “sleep hacks”, specialized apps and gadgets and even entire websites dedicated to little tricks that you can use to get a good night sleep. From the type of pillow to use, to the right temperature, to the best material to cover yourself with, you can find it all.

But there is a problem.

All these “sleep hacks” are pretty much useless for the majority of people.

Why?

Because in order for you to benefit from them, you need to have covered your fundamentals first. You need to have perfected the basics of sleep before you can worry about the the perfect light/darkness ratio of your bedroom. Engaging with “sleep hacks” is like choosing the colors of the walls before you have even started to build your house.

Understand the fundamentals of sleep. Master them. Perfect them.

They are also the easiest the optimize and have the greatest impact on your sleep and productivity.

Here’s how to get better sleep by using the 3 levers of sleep:

how to get better sleep

1. Sleep Intensity

In it’s most basic form, sleep intensity is how well you sleep.

There are two major types of sleep:

  1. Slow wave sleep (deep sleep) – your body relaxes, your breathing becomes more regular, your blood pressure falls, and your brain becomes less responsive to external stimuli, which makes it more difficult to wake up. This phase is critical for the renewal and repair of your body.
  2. REM sleep – REM sleep is to the mind what slow wave sleep is to the body. This is when your brain dreams, re-organizes information, boosts your memory by connecting the experiences of the last 24 hours to your previous experiences, and facilitates learning. Your body temperature rises, your blood pressure increases, and your heart rate speeds up.

The great news is that your body does a fantastic job at regulating your sleep intensity… automatically. Based on what it needs, it adjusts when you go from one phase to the other, how long each one of them lasts and when they start.

While there are ways to optimize your sleep intensity, the impact is fairly negligible in comparison to the other two levers so let’s continue the journey of how to get better sleep.

“Successful By Design Lab” Member Extra

Access your “The 5 Building Blocks Of Energy” video lesson in Successful By Design Lab.  

A good night sleep is just 1 out of the 5 building blocks of your energy. Learn what the other 4 are, put them to use and watch your energy levels grow on a regular basis.

Click here to access this 22-minute video.

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2. Sleep Timing

Timing of your sleep refers to when you go to bed and when you wake up.

I’ll go out on a limb here and make an assumption about you: you tend to wake up around the same time on most days.

Most people do.

Whether it’s for school or work, or because one of your other family members (or roommates) needs to get up, you generally wake up around the same time. This means that out of the two components of sleep timing, one of them is already covered.

So if your sleep intensity is automatically regulated by your body and your sleep timing is dictated to a large extent by your schedule, how can you possibly optimize your sleep?

Let’s talk about the last lever of sleep, the one that holds the key:

3. Sleep Duration

Duration of sleep refers to how long you actually sleep.

As we already pointed out, getting up is already covered so the only thing you are left to “play with” is when you go to bed

Tada!

“Wait, that is the big secret of how to get better sleep?” – this is what most people tell me when they hear this and most likely, this is what YOU are thinking right now.

Sounds too basic to work, right?

It is basic, but it DOES work. It works like a charm once you find your optimal time.

What does that mean?

There is no universal number of hours that you need to be asleep so you can wake up refreshed and energized. Everyone has a different number. Some people need 7 hours and if they go beyond that, they feel groggy and unmotivated the whole day. Others need to be hooked to a coffee drip just to stay awake if they get any less sleep time than 8 hours.

Everyone needs a different amount of sleep.

There are many factors that go into it. Age, gender, culture, society, physical activity, overall health and the list goes on. Not to mention that your sleep needs change overtime as well.

Let’s find what YOUR optimal sleep time is in two simple steps. It is time to start running little sleep experiments:

1) Experiment For A Week

You know when you need to wake up so let’s keep that a constant. Let’s experiment with when you go to bed which will dictate the duration of your sleep.

For a week go to bed at such a time that you get 8 hours of sleep. If you need to wake up at 7:00 AM, hit the pillow at 11:00 PM.

Next week, go to bed at such a time that you get 7.5 hours of sleep.

The following week try 8.5 or 7, or 9, etc. The idea is to keep experimenting with the duration of your sleep on a weekly basis. A week is the ideal length for these experiments as it is short enough to keep things fun and long enough to give you measurable results.

2) Rate Your Energy Every Morning

Immediately upon waking up, rate your energy from 1 to 5 and write it down.

1 being the lowest (you need a big cup of coffee or green tea just to become sociable and get out of bed) and 5 being the highest (you jump out of bed because you cannot wait to get started with your morning routine).

At the end of the week, average out your energy rating from the entire week and write it down.

As you finish each experiment, compare your energy rating with the ones from the previous weeks. This will provide you with a great indication if you need more sleep or less sleep.

Keep adjusting your sleep duration until you find YOUR optimal number.

———–

Eventually, you are going to find what the best sleep time for you is. Maybe it’s 7 hours, maybe it’9, you’ll never know until you experiment with it. And you might be surprised at the result. A lot of people find that they feel better and more energized with less sleep than what they are currently getting.

We are all different and no two circumstances are the same. Your sleep needs also change overtime and the only way to get a great night sleep on a consistent basis is to run these little experiments until you find what works best for you.

Once you find your optimal sleep duration time, become religious about it. If you need 8.5 hours of sleep and you know you need to wake up early, adjust your going to bed to fit your needs. Make those 8.5 hours (or whatever your number is) part of your routine. Structure your life to support it. Make it a habit.

Think of yourself as a cellphone

(A phrase I never imagined I would write)

how-to-sleep-betterTo charge your cellphone at 100%, it needs to be plugged in for a specific amount of time. Any less than that and the battery is not going to be full.

Your sleep is your electricity, your plug is your bed. Once you know how much time you need to be fully charged (pun intended), to be at 100% every day, make sure you get exactly that… every single night.

Over To You Now

Your sleep intensity is covered. The timing of your wake up is set. If you want to learn how to get better sleep, the only thing you are left to experiment with is your sleep duration or when you go to bed. And experiment you should.

Change your sleep duration for a week. Rate your energy every single day and calculate the average for the entire week. Then run another experiment next week and keep on going. In a few weeks, you’re going to discover your optimal time. Once you do, use it to wake up at 100% and have a productive day every day

Question: what is YOUR sleep duration number? Leave a comment in the section below:

“Successful By Design Lab” Member Extra

Access your “The 5 Building Blocks Of Energy” video lesson in Successful By Design Lab.  

A good night sleep is just 1 out of the 5 building blocks of your energy. Learn what the other 4 are, put them to use and watch your energy levels grow on a regular basis.

Click here to access this 22-minute video.

Not a Lab member? Click here to learn more about SBD Lab.