What I Learned From Taking The Better Sleep Challenge
Thank you to the Better Sleep Council for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.
We all know that sleep can affect your health, mood, and productivity levels, yet prioritizing sleep can be a huge struggle. I wanted to see if changing my sleep habits would make a difference in these areas of my life.
One of my goals was to shut down electronics by 10pm and then read until 10:30pm before going to sleep. I also wanted to clear my head before bed by writing down any ideas and thoughts that usually distract me late at night.
As part of Better Sleep Council’s campaign, I also encouraged you to join the challenge and share how you were planning to be #BetterInBed this month.
Today, I’m recapping what I learned from the sleep challenge to see if I made progress on my goals. I’ll also share what I learned from making sleep a priority during a pretty hectic month.
Recap of The Better Sleep Month
This month turned out to be an interesting time to attempt a sleep challenge. My schedule didn’t exactly have any rhyme or reason to it, which threw off my plans to get 8 hours of sleep each night.
Originally, my sleep plans were to: 1) turn off and put away electronics by 10pm, 2) write down my ideas, thoughts, and to-dos to work on later instead immediately, and 3) read until 10:30 and then turn the lights off. Here’s how those plans turned out:
Sleep Habit #1:
Turn off and put away electronics by 10pm
I’ll be honest, this didn’t happen once.
As a little backstory, I have a contract job where I usually work from 6-9 in the evenings. Luckily I can do everything from the comfort of my pajamas, and it allows me to get to bed by 10pm.
However, a different obstacle popped up this month. I recently started coaching a high school dance team (random, I know), and this month the team had tryouts. On the days that the team has something going on, I didn’t get home until about 7. That meant I have to bump my work hours later and usually I ended up working 7:30-10:30.
There’s the explanation no one asked for, but you can see why putting electronics away by 10 was never gonna happen for me. Womp womp.
Sleep Habit #2:
Write down ideas, thoughts, and to-dos in a notebook to work on later
Unlike the previous challenge, this one actually went pretty well. Instead of staying up later than I needed to due to distractions, I stuck to a simple routine before bed. If I had any ideas or nagging thoughts pop into my head, I wrote them down or added them to tomorrow’s to-do list. Instead of keeping these thoughts in my head or feeling the need to start working on them, I let them go. Overall, this helped me to get more sleep and fall asleep more easily.
Sleep Habit #3:
Read until 10:30 then turn the lights off
I’ve already mentioned that getting to bed around this time was a struggle, but I did manage to read every night before bed. No matter how late it was, I made sure to read a few pages before going to sleep. Reading helps me to unwind and relax my brain, and it also helped to shut my head off and get to sleep more easily. I actually finished Wild by Cheryl Strayed this month, and I’d definitely recommend it.
Unplanned Sleep Habit:
I didn’t have plans to make this happen, but somehow I reduced the urge to snooze my alarm this month. Usually I set my alarm for 6:45 and end up snoozing until 7:30 (don’t judge), but lately I’ve been able to get up at 6:45 with no trouble.
Part of this is because I’m actually motivated to get out of bed in the morning. With the weather warming up, I get excited about starting my day with a morning walk. Somehow this simple ritual reduces my urge to snooze.
Not snoozing means I’m not groggy and unproductive in the mornings, and it actually improves my mood. I may be getting fewer hours of sleep, but I find I’m more tired at the end of the day which makes it easier to fall asleep.
After taking this sleep challenge, I’ve created the habit of getting up earlier and letting myself switch off before bed. Even though I’ve had less sleep than I usually would, I’ve been more motivated and focused to get things done. Maybe it’s because I now have more hours in the morning or because I’m not staying up late getting distracted. Either way, this challenge encouraged me to change my habits and manage my time better so I can make sleep more of a priority moving forward.
How will you get more sleep?
Even when your schedule is hectic, it’s still possible to create healthy sleep habits. I’d love to know what your sleep habits are and what helps you get to sleep at night. Leave a comment below and let me know!