As a former insomniac whose profession now forces me to fight to make every precious hour of sleep count, here are some tips that have worked well for me:
1: Consistency: Keep the time that you go to bed and wake up constant. This includes weekends — don't change these parameters by more than an hour total per day if at all possible.
2: Time: Make whatever adjustments you need to sleep 7-8 hours/night. My insomniac experience allows me to say with complete confidence that sleep is one of the biggest (and most underrated) factors in health, performance, and happiness. Respect your need for sleep, and trust me, many other things will just fall in place.
3: Sleep cycles: Monitor your sleep cycles, and try your best not to get up in the middle of one. For instance, I know that mine are ~90 min in length. If I sleep ~3 hours, I will actually be more alert than if I sleep 4, just because waking up in the middle of deep sleep throws me off and it takes several hours to get out of the funk.
4: Exercise: 30 min/day in some form or fashion is amazing. Sleep status synergizes with energy levels, and exercise seems to help me remain constant.
5: Food: I've found that small meals/snacks spread throughout the day avoids food comas and subsequent hijacking of usual sleep patterns. Most people eat way more in one sitting than their body needs — so learn to read your body's signals and realize when you're not actually hungry anymore.
6: Comfort: Make sure your bed is comfortable, that your thermostat isn't set too low/high, that your pillow supports your head at the appropriate level for your sleeping position (back, side, etc), etc. This makes a huge difference.
7: Practice: I'm serious. Good sleep patterns require effort just like anything else. Take your sleep seriously, and it will pay off in every aspect of your life!
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