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How to Sleep Well Before a Big Day | Nick Wignall

Sleep mistakes

... we make when it comes to sleeping well before a big day:

  • We try too hard to sleep and we end up making it harder to fall asleep.
  • We overestimate the negative consequences of poor sleep.

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How to Sleep Well Before a Big Day | Nick Wignall

How to Sleep Well Before a Big Day | Nick Wignall

https://nickwignall.com/how-to-sleep-well-before-a-big-day/

nickwignall.com

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Key Ideas

Stressing about sleep

Before a stressful work event, we tend to worry about what will happen if we don’t sleep well:

  • We worry that we’ll be physically tired.
  • We worry that we won’t be mentally sharp.
  • We worry about being in a bad mood.
  • We worry that our performance will suffer.

Sleep mistakes

... we make when it comes to sleeping well before a big day:

  • We try too hard to sleep and we end up making it harder to fall asleep.
  • We overestimate the negative consequences of poor sleep.

Sleep restriction

It's a technique for improving the quality of your sleep by using the power of Sleep Drive (the body’s natural need for sleep). Sleep Drive is built during the day: the longer you’re awake the stronger your need for sleep. 

Sleep Restriction temporarily restricts the quantity of your sleep so that you’re awake longer and therefore build up more Sleep Drive.

Exercise the days before

If you want more chances of sleeping well the night before a big event, be as physically active as possible the days before.

Shut off your mind

We usually have difficulties with falling asleep at night because we get into bed when our minds are still in work mode trying to solve problems.

The mind needs time to transition out of problem-solving work mode and into a state of relaxation before it can fall asleep. So read a book, watch a relaxing show or listen to your favorite music.

Schedule time to worry

Make sure to set a time and a structure for worrying and you'll reduce the mind’s need to use worry.

And if you're worrying less—especially at night—you’re much more likely to fall asleep easily and sleep well.

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The Science of Sleep

The average adult spends 36 % (or about one-third) of his or her life asleep.

Purpose of Sleep:

  • Restoration
  • Memory Consolidation
  • Metabolic Health
Restoration

The first purpose of sleep is restoration.

Every day, your brain accumulates metabolic waste as it goes about its normal neural activities. Sleeping restores the brains healthy condition by removing these waste products. Accumulation of these waste products has been linked to many brain-related disorders.

Memory Consolidation

The second purpose of sleep is memory consolidation.

Sleep is crucial for memory consolidation, which is responsible for your long term memories. Insufficient or fragmented sleep can hamper your ability to remember facts and feelings/emotions.

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Keep in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle
  • Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day;
  • Avoid sleeping in, even on weekends;
  • Limit naps to 15 to 20 minutes in the early afternoon;
Melatonin

Is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. 

Your brain secretes more melatonin when it’s dark, making you sleepy, and less when it’s light, making you more alert. 

However, many aspects of modern life can alter your body’s production of melatonin and shift your circadian rhythm

Influence exposure to ligh

During the day:

  • Expose yourself to bright sunlight in the morning. 
  • Spend more time outside during daylight. 
  • Let as much natural light into your home or workspace as possible.

At night:

  • Avoid bright screens within 1-2 hours of your bedtime.
  • Say no to late-night television.
  • Don’t read with backlit devices. 
  • When it’s time to sleep, make sure the room is dark.
  • Keep the lights down if you get up during the night.

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The power of morning routines
  • Routines drastically reduce the amount of logistical and psychological friction in between us and our goals.
  • Good routines are also powerful motivation generators. In add...
The secret to productive mornings
... is to make them easier, not earlier.

Forget about getting up insanely early every morning.  How much time we have in the mornings is far less important than how we spend the time we do have.

Prep your day the evening before

Reduce the number of decisions and tasks you have to do each morning in between waking up and doing your work:

  • Decide on and lay out your clothes for the following day the evening before and gather all other pieces of stuff you need (supplies, equipment).
  • Make your breakfast and lunch the night before and have it ready to grab in the fridge.

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