A Simple Checklist for Better Sleep

If you want more energy, the first place to start is with your sleep.

No amount of exercise, healthy diet, or social connections can compensate for a bad night of sleep.

But I don’t need to tell you this. You already know sleep is important.

Unfortunately, knowledge is not enough. There’s a big gap between knowing something is important and actually doing what’s needed to put the wisdom into practice.

Which means you could know in your bones that sleep is important…

You could remind yourself of it day after day…

And you could still fail to get the sleep quantity and quality you need to access your best self.

I’m all too aware of the difficulty of getting great sleep. It used to be a huge struggle for me. (I even used to nearly fall asleep from time to time while working at my first job…Not cool!)

But I’ve made big strides since then, and my sleep (and overall energy!) is better than it’s ever been.

So I compiled the most helpful tips I’ve learned on my own journey with sleep.

Treat them as strategies to experiment with in the laboratory of your own life.

Start small. Commit to the journey. Experiment. Have fun with it.

I guarantee it’s worth the effort.

Here’s to your rejuvenation!

A Simple Checklist for Better Sleep

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What to do on a High-Level

[ ] Sleep for something bigger than yourself. It’s not easy to modify your sleep schedule and get more sleep. Start by getting clear on your motivations for doing this. And remind yourself of them if you feel challenged down the road.

  • WHY do you wanna sleep more?
  • WHO are you capable of being when you’re well-rested?
  • HOW are you capable of showing up?
  • WHAT are you capable of accomplishing?
  • HOW are you sleeping when you’re performing at your peak?

[ ] Keep track of your sleep. Create a simple tracker to note when you go to bed and when you wake up. (Or add this to your Daily Wins Checklist.) Tracking leads to greater awareness. And awareness is the seed of all positive change.

What to do in the Morning

[ ] Wake up at the same time every day. Your body likes routine and rhythm. Give it what it likes!

[ ] Establish a clear and powerful morning routine. If you know exactly what you’re going to do after waking up, it’s easier to get up and start the day.

[ ] Greet the day with gusto by waking up on your first alarm. You feel better when you get out bed immediately than when you do when you snooze. Make this the start of your morning routine. (Next level: Get enough sleep that you’ll wake up without an alarm.)

[ ] Get sunlight directly on your skin and eyes. Sun exposure, particularly in the morning, helps regulate your circadian rhythms. (Which, in turn, impact how well you sleep.)

What to do throughout the day

[ ] Set clear rules for caffeine consumption. Cut off caffeine consumption as early as possible. Caffeine has a half-life of 5-6 hours. The earlier you stop consuming it, the less will be in your system come bed time.

[ ] Exercise. Move your body. Every day. You know what to do.

[ ] Take a mid-day power nap. Dan Pink likens naps to a “zamboni for the mind”. It doesn’t replace your regular sleep, but naps are a powerful tool to refresh.

What to do at Night

[ ] Go to bed at the same time every day. Find a rhythm that works and stick to it!

[ ] Create a Bedtime Ritual. (Don’t second guess yourself every night. Create a clear system that gets you from awake to in-bed-and-sleeping.

[ ] Minimize blue-light exposure after sundown(Blue light emitted from screens messes with your suprachiasmatic nucleus (the brain’s timekeeper.) If your brain doesn’t think it’s nighttime because it’s being blasted with light from screens, it disrupts your natural sleep/wake rhythms.

[ ] Create a Digital Sunset. Set a clear time each night where you power down devices. (~60 minutes or earlier before going to sleep.) This can be the kickoff to your bedtime ritual.

[ ] Dim the lights. Our mind didn’t evolve in an environment with artificial light. Make your environment darker before bed and your body will receive that signal.

[ ] Don’t eat too late. It can inhibit your ability to get into deep sleep.

[ ] Meditate. Mindfulness meditation is one of the most effective tools for letting go of a busy mind, and cultivating stillness.

[ ] Journal. Get thoughts out of your head and onto paper. Especially helpful for people with active minds.

[ ] Sleep in a dark environment. As dark as possible. (I love using an eye mask like this one.)

[ ] Sleep in a cool environment. Core body temperature cools down at night. Match that with the environment. (~60-67 degrees.)

Putting this Into Practice

  1. Start small. Pick the highest-leverage items first, and add them to your routines. (I noted what’s been most impactful for me with a star.)
  2. Clarify your “why” using the questions above.
  3. Write down your new plan.
  4. Celebrate your wins. Note what needs improvement. And keep practicing, one day at a time.
  5. When you inevitably falter, note that without judgment. Forgive yourself for having erred, and recommit to the path forward.

Get the 1-Page Checklist for Better Sleep

Power-up your sleep to start every day with energy.

We'll also add you to the Mindful Ambition email community. Powered by ConvertKit