Want to know how to discipline your sleep routine?
An irregular sleep schedule creates havoc and wreaks your lifestyle.
It’s subtle, and it won’t kill you immediately, but it’s a slow kill. And it’s just not the best way to live.
Life can feel a hundred times better with a regular sleep schedule. But then why don’t most of us do it and live better?
Because first, we need to break it down and understand the fundamentals. Yup, that’s right. To understand sleep, first, we have to understand habits.
What is a Habit
If you are looking to live your best life, then disciplining your sleep habit is vital.
In The Power of Habit (audible), author Charles Duhigg coins the term keystone habit. A keystone habit is a habit that creates a domino effect across the rest of your life. For instance, exercise can cause you to eat healthier, be more productive at work, and improve your morning routine.
Sleep is a keystone habit. Disciplining your sleep schedule can cause a positive effect that spreads like wildfire across your other habits. Solving your sleep problems will improve the quality of your life.
An Entrepreneur article explains the seven benefits of sleeping early and rising early:
- It helps you better deal with negativity
- Enhances chances of success
- Morning people are proactive and persistent
- Reduces stress
- It keeps you healthy and energy high
- You procrastinate less
- You look better
James Clear, habit researcher and author of Atomic Habits (audible), says:
“Your life today is essentially the sum of your habits.”
So true. Habits make up your life.
Now that we understand a little bit more about habits, let’s get started, shall we?
1. Get Crystal Clear on Your WHY
If you really want to change your sleep patterns, you’ve got to stop bullshitting around and figure out your WHY. Your WHY is your purpose. Without knowing your purpose, you’ll aim at your goal, but you won’t have the reasoning to back it up when your conquest gets tough.
Finding your WHY is going to require you to dig deep. Yes, that means you have to connect to your emotions. It’s similar to when you desire a woman or a man; there is something visceral going on underneath that makes you want that person. You’ve got to tap into that energy and put words to it.
When the journey gets tough and you want to binge on your next Netflix series, having a clear understanding of your WHY to refer back to will keep you on track with your sleep discipline mission.
Start by asking yourself, why do you want to discipline your sleep schedule? When you come up with your answer, then ask yourself why again. Do this five to ten times until you hit an emotional nerve. When you’ve come up with your WHY, write it down and keep it somewhere you can refer back to when times get tough.
2. Write Down Your Sleep Goals
I’m sure you’ve heard this many times: set goals and write them down. And maybe you took it with a grain of salt and never followed through. But did you know you are forty-two percent more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down? Forty-two percent?!
I’ve come across many people who refuse to write things down, and I find this to be so peculiar. The truth is no one cares if you discipline your sleep schedule, but maybe your overbearing parents or your significant other. No one is holding a gun to your head to improve the quality of your sleep. So if you want to do this for yourself, then take the extra step for yourself.
If you are determined to get your sleep under control, take that extra step to write down your goals in the present tense using the SMART goals method.
Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound
- Wake-up at 5:30 a.m. for ninety days straight.
- Sleep for eight hours a night for forty-five days in a row.
3. Prioritize Your Sleep Goals
Learning Prioritization skills can be a game-changer for some people. James Clear recommends to “ruthlessly eliminate your goals.” If you are working on multiple goals simultaneously, they can be competing for your time and energy. Therefore too many competing goals will hinder your success.
You have to make your sleep goal the most important out of all of your goals and activities. More important than electronics in bed, than that tv show, than that glass of wine. And yes, sometimes more important than exercise.
Back to the concept of keystone habits, when you discipline your sleep, the other habits will most likely work themselves out. All you need to do is focus on achieving your sleep goal for the day.
Write down your activities starting anywhere from three to eight hours leading up to your bedtime. List them out. Can you find the culprit that’s hindering your success? What needs to happen, and what time does it need to happen to get you to sleep at your desired bedtime?
- Are you eating dinner too late?
- Does your workout need to be moved to your morning routine?
- Do you need to turn off work emails at a particular hour?
4. Find a Sleep Strategy
If you’ve failed at disciplining your sleep routine in the past, chances are you had the wrong strategy. It’s not that you suck or you lack the discipline; it’s just that you need to find a different approach.
Not all strategies are created equal, and not everyone’s lifestyle will benefit from the same process. Chances are you’ll want to experiment with different methods and see what gives you the best outcome.
You might also like: 6 Inspiring Ideas to Discipline Your Daily Sleep Habits.
5. Track Your Sleep Habits
You can probably gather that all the steps above, including this one, are all the moving pieces towards your sleep success. Tracking your habits is one of the most critical steps, though. Do not neglect this.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “it takes twenty-one days to form or break a habit.” This myth and was debunked in a study done by University College London in 2009. The study states that forming a habit takes between eighteen to 254 days, depending on its difficulty. The median range of building a habit is more like sixty-six days versus our popular misconception of twenty-one days.
With this in mind, training your circadian rhythm could very well take 254 days or the whole year, for that matter. So having a system to track and review your progress and setbacks is only advantageous. Tracking your sleep patterns motivates you, helps you see when patterns emerge and help you find solutions when it gets tough.
You might also like: How to Use a Habit Tracker to Transform Your Life. Print out SEA’s sleep habit planner and tracker, and start disciplining your sleep habits today!
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I hope you enjoyed the article and walked away with better insight. Now you can discipline your sleep habits once and for all! You’ve got everything you need, you’ve figured your WHY, you have written down your goal, you picked a strategy, you’ve made it a priority, now all you need to do is act, track, and review. You are well on your way to the best sleep ever! Good luck and have fun!
Books Recommended In This Article
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Atomic Habits by James Clear