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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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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

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.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

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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The necessary amount of sleep
The necessary amount of sleep

Most adults function best after 7-9 hours of sleep a night.

When we get less than 7 hours, we’re impaired (to degrees that vary from person to person).  When sleep persistently fa...

Polyphasic sleeping

It's based on the idea that by partitioning your sleep into segments, you can get away with less of it.

Though it is possible to train oneself to sleep in spurts instead of a single nightly block, it does not seem possible to train oneself to need less sleep per 24-hour cycle.

Replacing sleep with caffeine

Caffeine works primarily by blocking the action of a chemical called adenosine, which slows down our neural activity, allowing us to relax, rest, and sleep.

By interfering with it, caffeine cuts the brake lines of the brain’s alertness system. Eventually, if we don’t allow our body to relax, the buzz turns to anxiety.

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Sleep And Weight Fluctuation
Sleep And Weight Fluctuation

Sleeping less has been associated with increased risk of obesity, and addition of body fat, as it affects the overall metabolism of the body, and can also affect our appetite.

Sleep duratio...

More Sleep Means Better Metabolism
  • Various studies point out that sleep influences two appetite hormones, leptin (to decrease appetite) and ghrelin (to stimulate appetite), which is also known as the hunger hormone.
  • Lack of sleep is associated with higher levels of ghrelin and lower levels of leptin, making the person more likely to overeat.
More Sleep And More Exercise
  • Sleep-deprived people crave for and also end up eating more carb-rich foods and sugar.
  • Sleep duration affects the release of insulin in the body, that affects our glucose levels, and prolonged sleep deprivation can lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes.
  • Research shows that exercise prevents the damage done by lack of sleep and also makes one eat less.

To stay healthy, one has to sleep more and also do regular exercise.

A cluttered mind

It can make navigating even the most basic parts of our day exceedingly stressful and frustratingly inefficient.

Mindfulness
It is the habit of being aware of and noticing our own minds and the world around us, without judgment.
It strengthens 2 essential mental muscles: metacognition (watching our own minds at work) and attentional shifting (the ability to deliberately refocus our attention away from one object and onto another).
A Consistent Organizational System

It is an external strategy for keeping track of what we need to do and accomplish.

By creating and maintaining a reliable organizational system, we give ourselves the best possible chance of efficiently processing the day-to-day Have-Tos, so that we have sufficient time and energy to focus on the Want-Tos (the things that really matter to us).

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Observe, Accept, and Reframe

Recognizing and accepting the fact you're being nervous before an important presentation will help you more than trying to fight those anxious feelings. Resistance creates even more angst.

On...

Focus on Your Body

Instead of being swept in the spiral of negative thoughts like 'What if I fail? What will they think of me? try to be aware of your physical sensations: how your heart beats, how the air fills your lungs, the heat and sweat you feel.

This will anchor you in the present moment and calm your nerves.

Tips For Calming Your Nerves
  • Make sure you get a good night’s sleep, that you're hydrated and that you had a good meal before. 
  • Be careful with your caffeine intake before a big presentation so that your heart rate isn’t already elevated.
  • Strike a power pose. Research shows it can shift your mood and make you feel more confident. 
  • Own the space. If you can, get to the room early and really imagine owning it.

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5 hours of sleep is enough

Habitual sleep deprivation is associated with diverse and far-reaching health effects and none of them is good.

Between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night are recommended. You can get used to l...

Watching Television before bed

Cellphones, tablets, and all kinds of personal electronics are not a good idea when you’re getting ready for bed.

Researchers have increasingly focused on “blue light” emitted by screens and its effect on sleep and negative sleep-related health outcomes.

It doesn’t matter when you sleep

Our bodies tend to follow a natural rhythm of wakefulness and sleep that is attuned to sunrise and sunset for a reason.

While some missed sleep here and there isn’t necessarily a big deal, shifting your sleep schedule long term isn’t healthy.

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Snoring isn’t harmful

Although snoring may be harmless for most people, it can be a symptom of a life-threatening sleep disorder called sleep apnea, especially if it is accompanied by severe daytime sleepiness. 

You can "cheat" on sleep

Sleep experts say most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night for optimum performance, health, and safety. 

The resulting sleep deprivation has been linked to health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure, negative mood and behavior, decreased productivity, and safety issues in the home, on the job, and on the road.

Turning up the radio

... opening the window, or turning on the air conditioner are effective ways to stay awake when driving.

These "aids" are ineffective and can be dangerous to the person who is driving while feeling drowsy or sleepy. 

It's best to pull off the road in a safe rest area and take a nap for 15-45 minutes. Caffeinated beverages can help overcome drowsiness for a short period of time. 

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How alcohol affects sleep

A lot of the symptoms associated with a hangover are a product of sleep deprivation.

Alcohol affects our ability to get into what is known as rapid eye movement (REM...

Eating before bed

It is important to leave at least a couple of hours between eating and sleeping. 

There is a whole raft of so-called sleepy foods – anything containing tryptophan, serotonin, melatonin, magnesium, calcium, potassium – often eaten in the hope they will aid sleep. 

If you do want to eat these foods, do it because it’s a nice ritual, not because you need it to sleep.

A cure for sleepwalking

There isn’t a cure. 

People who sleepwalk usually are advised to keep their room safe by locking windows and doors, and to maintain what’s called good sleep hygiene: keep to a regular sleep routine, turn mobile phones off, avoid stimulants, and so on. Sleepwalking can often occur as a result of poor or disrupted sleep.

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