Sleep is queen in the self-care world. It affects every facet of your life, and most people, quite frankly, suck at it. Finding ways to improve your sleep quality can do wonders for improving everything else in your world, and that is why my favorite self-care tip revolves around improving the quality of your shut eye.
ENTER: THE REAL ALARM CLOCK
Winters in Chicago are notoriously brutal, but I always managed to get through them too unscathed, until I became a personal trainer. My 4:30 AM wake-up calls were greeted with the pitch black of winter that no cup of coffee could save me from. After a full day training clients in a windowless gym void of natural light, my body and mind were suffering.
Even though I was working out regularly, eating well, and prioritizing sleep, my energy levels were lower than they had ever been, I was gaining weight, my stress levels were on the rise, and my depression was ruling my world. After feeling like I could not function much longer with such low energy levels, I invested in a sunlight simulator that also happened to be an alarm clock. It had a host of other features that I quickly learned to love such as a reading light that I could set on a timer and white noise options to help me fall asleep (which is also why the White Noise App for iPhone has become one of my favorite travel apps).
It was a miracle device and my energy levels quickly rebounded, but the alarm clock also had other unintended benefits. Since it had replaced my phone as my morning wake up call, I was spending less time online both before bed and first thing in the morning. As a result my quality of sleep improved significantly. My mindless social media browsing decreased, I was consuming more books, and my pre-bed exposure to blue light was reduced. My mornings improved as well. Since my phone was no longer the first thing I reached for, I also stopped getting stuck in the browsing loop first thing in the morning, which helped start my day on a less stressful foot.
I was spending less time online both before bed and first thing in the morning. As a result my quality of sleep improved significantly.
So that’s it – one SIMPLE self-care tip to rule them all. If you want to both decrease your dependence on your phone, spend less time mindlessly browsing social media, and improve the quality of your sleep, you can do so by swapping out your phone for a good old-fashioned alarm clock. If you want to take it even further, ban your phone completely from your bedroom and reclaim that sacred space solely for the two S’s. You do not have to invest in a fancy alarm clock, although if you too struggle with the darkness of winter, I cannot say enough good things about this one: Philips Wake-Up + Sunrise Simulation Alarm.
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