Developing a Healthy Sleeping Pattern

If there’s one thing I hate, its a bad sleeping routine. I absolutely hate it because it just sets a really unproductive tone for the rest of the day.

A few years ago when I was at uni and didn’t have to get up every morning, it was very easy just to roll over in the morning and fall back to sleep. When I finally did open my eyes again I would get the shock of my life upon seeing that it was 9 o’clock already! (well, that’s very late for me anyway!). By the time I was out of bed, dressed and eaten breakfast, half the morning was wasted. Excuse enough to procrastinate away until lunch time! Having wasted half the day already, it was easy to convince myself to crash on the couch with an episode of Lost after lunch, only to wake up 2 hours later as the end credits were rolling. That 2000 word Marketing essay that was due Friday hadn’t been touched all day, but I was feeling lazy and unmotivated. By 9 or 10 o’clock, I was ready for bed.

The morale of my story: Sleep is addictive. The more you sleep, the more tired you’ll feel. Here are some of my tips for developing a healthy sleeping pattern.

Limit your sleep to 8 hours each night

The more you sleep, the more tired you’ll feel. If you don’t get enough sleep you’ll struggle to wake up and get through the day. Aim for 8 hours of sleep each night, no more no less. On the weekend allow no more than one extra hour of sleep. Try going to bed later and waking up later to give yourself the sense of a sleep in (this could work well if you’re usually out late on the weekend).

Set a consistent bedtime and waking hour

Set a consistent bed time and waking hour that you will be able to stick to on most days. Base this on your work, study or other daily commitments. In time, your body clock will get used to your sleeping hours and you’ll find that waking up and going to bed won’t be so difficult.

Go to bed early and wake up early

I feel more productive being an early riser as I utilise the early morning hours where I would be sleeping and sacrificing inactive later evening hours where I would be in front of the TV. Plan an early morning activity, or start work earlier if you have the flexibility. How you define early is up to you, but I would suggest aiming to wake up somewhere between 6am and 7am.

Eat at least 3-4 hours before bed

Try to avoid eating 3-4 hours before bed, that way you will have an idea of your blood sugar level once most of your rapid acting insulin has worn off.

Place your alarm clock out of arms reach

Have your alarm clock out of arms reach when you’re sleeping, so that you’ll physically have to get up out of bed to silence it.

Hop into bed half an hour early

If you have difficulty falling asleep, hop into bed half an hour early an occupy yourself with an activity such as a book or television. That way when you do finally start to nod off, you can simply switch off the light rather than having to wake yourself up and get ready for bed.

Write a list of tasks for the day

Its especially hard to stick to a routine if you’re lucky enough to be living a leisurely life. Write yourself a list of tasks for each day, and read over them throughout the day to help keep you motivated. Include everything from work to study and leisure. Have a reward or goal in mind to motivate you, such as the evening off once that uni essay is completed.

Sit upright on the couch

Sit upright on the couch to avoid falling asleep during the day, or opt for a chair instead.

I find that having a good sleeping routine sets a really positive tone for my day, which extends to productivity in my daily tasks and my diabetes management. Your blood sugar levels will benefit from routine and consistency, and your body clock will soon get used to going to bed and waking up on time. So what are you waiting for. Go ahead and give it a try!

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