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Edited by Olivia Spahn-Vieira
 

The most quintessential way of beginning a new year is by setting a resolution at 12 sharp, assuring yourself that for the next 364 days you will truly commit to it. In the past, some of my new year resolutions included keeping a journal, exercising every morning, eating healthy, learning a new language, improving at math, and so on. This year I decided to make a resolution that was more plausible, and frankly, less demanding. 

I have struggled to maintain a regular sleeping pattern ever since the beginning of high school. My enduring sleep deprivation has become evident from my puffy eyes and terrible dark circles. Therefore, this year, I decided to quit my incessant caffeine addiction and allow my eyes and mind the proper rest they deserved. I decided to address this issue in my article because I believe that at least six out of ten of my readers will resonate with my sleep problem, and will hopefully find the following tips very useful. :)    

One of the most important things about keeping a healthy sleep cycle that I’ve learnt so far is listening to your body. Some people enjoy staying up a little later at night, while others prefer waking up early in the morning. Keeping it consistent and making sure you get between seven and nine hours of sleep nightly should be a priority. Once you’ve figured out what routine suits your body best, it is crucial to stick to it. Never ever underestimate the power of a good night’s rest! Sleep is no less than an extended meditation session, if done correctly. This article will give you a step by step manual, to maximize your sleep.

How to Sleep Better: the Ultimate Guide

2- 3 hours prior to falling asleep, it is vital that you follow two rules. First, finish what you’re doing, whether it be exercise, studying, cleaning, or performing any other manual or mental chores. As well, make sure to finish eating your dinner before this golden period begins.

I personally enjoy running during late evenings. Exercise pulls your inhaled oxygen towards your lungs and your muscles, and food pulls your inhaled oxygen towards your digestive system. The outcome? Longer and deeper breaths to satisfy your body. It’s important to understand that high quality sleep is more about brain oxygenation than body oxygenation. Brain oxygenation happens when your breaths are shorter, when your lungs aren’t compelled to perform strenuous activity, and when all the oxygen that you’re pulling in works towards refuelling your brain and not your body.

You fall asleep when your body’s temperature is a degree or two lower than normal. If you heat up your body closer to your bedtime it will affect your sleep adversely. This is why you should avoid hot showers during the night. Water temperature should be lukewarm; just slightly hotter than room temperature, good enough to make you feel clean, as well as sleepy. 

Next, take care of your lights. An hour before you want to sleep, put your phone away. There is nothing that can hinder with your sleep as much as bright screens can. Your body will feel more tired or awake based on the amount of light entering it through your eyes. So, switch all your bright lights off, set your alarms, and put your phone away.

The final activity of your day has a profound impact on your thought process. This is the part of the day where you can directly affect your subconscious mind. One of the best activities for this time is reading. No phone screens, no play stations, no tv shows, but books. If you don’t like reading, podcasts work great as well; just try to avoid looking at your device’s screen. You can gain as much knowledge from them as you can from books. 

Once you’ve tucked yourself in bed and followed these steps, it shouldn’t be very difficult for you to fall asleep, but if you’re someone that struggles with their sleep, try performing a sleep meditation. Put your hands between your chest and abdomen; one after the other and focus on your breath. Try adding a silent chant to this process. This can be any two syllable word that you say in your mind. Don’t move your tongue and don’t worry about the pronunciation, just say the word in your mind. Slowly let it fade into the background as you repeat it. Try not to think about your tasks for the next day, or your achievements or failures from the previous day. Just think of the comfort that surrounds you;  the softness of your bed, how relaxed your body is, the peace in your room. Delve deeper into how relaxed your body feels. Sleep will come if you just stay in the present moment. Don’t worry about how long you’re chanting for; don’t focus on anything. Let the chant manipulate your breath, leading you to rest.  

 

Yoothika is a third year BA candidate at the University of Toronto, St George. She is a writer for the U Toronto chapter of Her Campus. In her free time, Yoothika likes to explore the city of Toronto for trendy brunch places, occasionally run around the Harbourfront, listen to R&B and hip/hop music and binge the latest historical/crime Netflix shows. She is an admirer of fiction and classical literature, two of her recommended books are All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Yoothika aims to pursue a career in Human Rights and Law.
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