I don't mean to brag, but I'm kind of the queen of sleep. Just about every night, I get eight hours or above. On a bad night, I get seven. Maybe once a year, I get four (and I make up for it by getting a solid 10 the next night). And though I'm a light sleeper, I find ways to get all the z's I need.
Getting a good night's sleep provides abundant benefits — it improves your memory, lowers stress levels, fuels creativity, and increases emotional stability . . . all vital for performing well at work. The Sleep Foundation recommends adults shoot for a healthy seven to nine hours (not too lofty!). Thus, in your quest for well-restedness, we present your official doable seven-night sleeping challenge. By the end of the week, you'll be a champion of slumber (and so refreshed, you won't know what to do with yourself!).
Sunday: Eat sleep-inducing foods
It's the night before your first day of work, so it's vital you begin with a bang (or a snore). At 8 p.m., indulge in a small bowl of oatmeal, a cup of yogurt, or a handful of nuts. (These foods will help you drift off.) At 8:30 p.m., get ready for bed, and by 9 p.m., be tucked under the covers (for the sake of this challenge, we're assuming you wake up at 6 a.m.).
If you're still wide awake at 10 p.m., consider turning on a fan. I use one every night to drown out outside noises . . . as well as those plaguing thoughts/fears/concerns, which can keep anyone up.
And if you're STILL having trouble? Read a mellow book, which can help you unwind and grow tired.
Monday: Drink sleepy-time tea
Nothing beats coming home after a long Monday. Hopefully, you had a productive day at the office with all the sleep you got — now it's time for round two! At 8 p.m., sip sleepy-time tea with honey. Again, aim to go dark at 9 p.m.
Tip: power down your electronics at least 30 minutes before hitting the sack. Staring at a screen before bed is a surefire way to keep your mind buzzing.
Tuesday: Put on a calming podcast
Tuesdays are always rough — you've been at work for two days, but you're still early on in the week. For the sake of raising the bar, let's scale it back a half hour. Put on your sleepwear and brush your teeth at 7:30 p.m. At 8 p.m., listen to a relaxing podcast. At 8:30 p.m., allow yourself to drift off for the night.
Wednesday: Do soothing stretches
You're over the hump! Give yourself a pat on the back. At 8 p.m., (literally) stretch the workweek out of your limbs, which will relax your body and brain. Check out POPSUGAR's sleep stretches to maximize the effects. Get snoozing by 9 p.m.
Thursday: Watch ASMR or guided meditation videos
Tomorrow's Friday — hooray! Are you feeling reinvigorated yet? Tonight, watch an ASMR or guided meditation video on YouTube. Get ready for bed a little early (around 7:30 p.m.), so you can take all the time you need on the videos. If you haven't drifted off by 9 p.m., shut off the vids and catch those z's.
Friday: Take a warm bath
Congrats — you made it to the weekend! Though I can't reasonably expect you to hit the hay by 9 p.m., try shooting for 11 p.m. (assuming you'll be waking up later than 6 a.m.). After all, changing up your sleep schedule too much is bad for your body.
At 10 p.m, plop a soothing fizzy into a warm bath and hop in — but skip the wine, which can disrupt your slumber. When you're done, throw on your comfiest PJs and venture into la-la land.
Saturday: Listen to zen music and practice deep breathing
Last day! Feels bittersweet, right? You and sleep were just getting to know each other. At 10 p.m., listen to some zen music and practice deep-breathing techniques. By 11 p.m., you should be snoozing like a cat in a sunny spot.
On Sunday, make note of any differences you felt in your moods, emotions, attentiveness, memory, and general productivity throughout the seven days. Chances are, you had one fabulous week — all thanks to a little extra shut-eye.