How To Adult Starter Kit, Item #1: Sleep Well

This post is the first in a starter kit for anyone who wants to become an adult, and is wondering how the f to do that. The starter kit will be the bare minimum requirements for getting one’s life together, and it’ll also be useful  for anyone who has their life together, but wants to up their game a bit.

Some of the items may seem too easy, or obvious, or even unnecessary. Everyone is different, and needs different things, so I’ll try to leave it open wherever I can.

What I do know, however, is that successful people do all these things (and more, of course, but this is the starter kit, you know?). And by “successful people”, I don’t just mean the Lady Gagas and Hilary Clintons* of the world; I mean that chick at your work who always seems so together; your friend who makes 6x what you do, but is still so down to earth; your family member who has traveled around the world more times than you can count while working a day job at Walmart.

So your mileage may vary, and I encourage you to find what works for you and rock that as hard as you can.

And also… it might be worth it to at least try these things for at least a month, and see how you’re doing before writing them off.

It can’t hurt, right?

Without further ado, I give you…

Item #1: Sleep Well

When I was started getting my life together, this was probably the thing that made the most difference, and was also the thing that I most did NOT want to do. For whatever reason, our culture codes staying up late as “cool”, and sleeping late as “luxurious”. Frankly, I hear both of those because going to be is for nerds, and sleeping late is for Beyoncé.

But actually, sleep is like food: our bodies literally need it to survive. Sleep isn’t a negotiable thing, including the amount of sleep we need, so figure out when you have to go to bed to get at least 8 hours of sleep, and stick to that schedule. 30 minutes (or more, preferably) before going to bed, put away all your screens – TV, computer, cellphone, whatever. Read a book or magazine, or listen to music. Or just take an extra long BM, whatever fills the time.

Then, when it’s bedtime, get in bed, and stay there. If you’re like me and you have Unwanted Thoughts Syndrome that might keep you awake worrying about your day, get some melatonin or Tylenol PM or whatever, and let it carry you to Dreamland. All this will help train your body to go to bed when it’s bedtime, so in a month or so, you’ll just be tired at the right time.

Now, if you can’t imagine going to bed without looking at your cellphone or watching TV or whatever, try switching to something like music, white noise, or even old radio shows or new podcasts or something. Make it something you only do when it’s bedtime; so if you listen to a certain podcast, don’t listen to it any other time but beddy-bye time.

And if THAT doesn’t fit your needs, get familiar with your TV timer. Set it for 30 minutes (no more than 60), and make sure that it goes off completely then. That way, you get your TV time, and it doesn’t keep you from REM sleep by being on all night.

And on top of the benefits of getting a good night’s sleep, getting up early in the morning will make you feel like a badass. No joke; because getting up early gives you more time to get stuff done, you mentally feel more accomplished and motivated. You don’t even need to leave your house! Just the act of getting up early and doing something can act like an Awesome Enema in your system the whole rest of the day.

So start with getting to bed on a schedule, and then work to getting up early. I personally am still working on that one, but just getting up and eating breakfast instead of trying to do breakfast at work has revolutionized my productivity.

Next Up: Eat Well


* – and Jesse Jacksons, if he’s important to you. Back up ?

1 Thought.

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