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How to Kick Sleep Procrastination to the Curb

So, in our last blog we talked about how and why so many of us procrastinate when bedtime approaches—even when we’re desperately tired.

Nobody has a complete handle on this weird sleep procrastination phenomenon yet, which researchers say may be relatively recent thanks to a 24/7 work culture and a plethora of addictive electronics. But we figure it’s kind of important, since sleep is the key to many good and necessary things, such as health, memory and mood.

So if you’re a sleep procrastinator (and apparently pretty much everyone is), here are some tips to kick that bad habit in the you-know-what.

  1. Know Thyself. It’s a good idea to think through why you, in particular, put off going to sleep and the ways in which you do that. Is it Netflix? Is it the laundry? Late-night email checking? Perhaps you simply cannot stop reading Game of Thrones. Or you work out late and come home wired. Oh, it’s the Rubix Cube that won’t let you rest, isn’t it? We know, we’re on to you. In all seriousness, what are your pre-bed patterns and how might you change them?
  2. Set a routine bedtime…but not too much of one. Pay attention to your sleep time, figure out how many hours you need to function optimally and then work backward from your wake time. That’ll tell you about when you need to hit the hay. But don’t hold your feet to the fire too much. If you’re beating yourself up for being 15 minutes late to bed, that’s probably not helpful. Experts say pressuring yourself to go to sleep right now can lead to insomnia. Instead, set a “bedtime window” of about an hour and aim to get to sleep within it.
  3. Power down those gadgets. Since experts think electronics are a big reason we stay up too late, set a target time to unplug. Go low-tech after that, and it’s likely you’ll find it easier to drift off when you should. Experts say electronics are a poor substitute for an old-fashioned book when it comes to relaxing before sleep.
  4. Establish a bedtime ritual…but not too much of one. Habits help our bodies get into routines. Find out what works for you—whether it’s a hot bath and some tea, a book or even just changing into your PJs at a specific time—anything that helps you relax. Also, pay attention to how much time you need to get ready for sleep, so you can give yourself enough. But just like with the bedtime tip, avoid taking the ritual thing to the extreme. You don’t want to get all thrown off if something doesn’t fall right in place one night.

All in all, the idea behind these tips is not for us to pressure ourselves. It’s for each person to figure out what works for him or her, and then do it! Better sleep is the endgame. These are just some structures we thought would help…along with a super duper bed, of course.

Sleep tight, Urbanites!