How I improved my sleep and became more productive

I know it has been said in every lifestyle blog from here to Alpha Centauri, but sleep is so, so important for productivity. Getting 8 hours each night boosts your productivity just as much as your daily meditation schedule or completely optimising Microsoft OneNote or getting the best tablet on the market and the best productivity apps to go with it. A friend of mine who is familiar with the latest studies recently told me an incredible fact: for every hour of sleep you miss, your workday will be roughly 15% less productive. Fifteen percent! That is the kind of loss that most of us simply cannot afford to take.

So, there are several ways I’ve improved my sleep schedule, made sure I get the right amount of sleep, and made sure that waking up in the morning is pleasant and that I feel refreshed.

Practicing meditation before going to sleep.

This is such a big one. Practicing meditation every day just makes your sleep higher quality and ensures that you’re fresh and productive the next day. Even just ten minutes before you rest is great for improving the quality of your sleep. There are a number of apps and websites that include specific meditations to improve your rest quality and make falling asleep easier through mindfulness.

Sleep Oils

This is the kind of thing I’ve always been sceptical of. Sleep oils always seemed suspiciously too close to snake oil to be worth pursuing. That changed after a close friend of mine said they’d changed his life totally. I bought one on Amazon and it really did make a big difference: I felt much more rested the next day and also felt like I got much more work done. Now I’m a sleep oil user every night, too.

Stretching before sleep

This seems counterintuitive. Exercise, before sleep? Well, a lot of stretches really do relax your body and make it easier for your mind to shut down when your head hits the pillow. Using this list of stretches before I went to sleep increased the quality of my rest, as well as being healthy generally and improving my flexibility.

A Wake-Up Light

This is the big one for me. I got a Phillips wake-up light about six months ago and it has absolutely changed my life. Instead of waking up feeling groggy and lethargic, I now feel fresh. This was a huge upgrade from the sleep cycle alarm app I’d downloaded a few months earlier (which is still great, if you can’t afford the wake-up light).  The light gradually wakes you up over the course of a half hour so it feels like you’re being eased into waking up rather than an abrupt jolt awake. If I had to give one recommendation as to how to improve your sleep (or, in this case, your wake up) so that you’re more productive the next day, this is it.

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