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A 5-Step Plan to Creating Better Sleep Habits

"Of His signs is your sleep by night and by day. (Quran 30:23)

Is your sleep giving you the required rest and energy for a refreshing start each morning?

Or do you wake up even more exhausted and stressed than when you went to bed?

Each day brings with it different struggles and issues to juggle. And this makes sleep very rewarding; a welcome period for rest and unwinding.

With the right habits, sleep could turn out to be just what you need to reinvigorate your mind and body. And get you tuned in for a fresh start each morning.

Here’s your five-step plan for creating a rewarding sleep habit.

1. CUT DOWN THE TECH. HYPE

Plan your day so as to make your night exclusively for rest. Reduce the pings, chats, tweets and other social networking some hours before sleep time and eventually switch it all off or disconnect.

Just like caffeine, technology stimulates the brain and makes you mentally alert especially when engaging with visual materials. Many of us are guilty of this habit but when you cut out the hype, the quality of your sleep will improve.

So, as much as you love your smart phone, tablet and other tech. gadgets – leave them out of your sleep routine and definitely keep them out of bed.

Don’t go to sleep on a tech. high and wake up on a tech. high.

Try it for a night to begin with. If you survive the night without your gadgets, try it for a week. What do you notice?
2. CREATE A CONDUCIVE SLEEPING ENVIRONMENT

Keep your sleeping space clean, clutter free and as comfortable as possible. Cleanliness is essential to make it welcoming and easier for you to unwind and get relaxed for sleep.

Change your bedding frequently and replace broken furniture or saggy mattress.

Ensure that your room is well aired and has adequate ventilation. Make sure the temperature is OK for you. While some people can sleep comfortably in cool temperatures – *just like the polar bears*, others need warmer temperatures to be able to catch their Zzzzs.

Try it now by taking a good look around your room, then experiment with any changes that will make it feel more welcoming.

3. THINK IBADAH (WORSHIP)

Any activity can be turned into a form a worship with the right intention and when done according to the Prophetic Sunnah. Just as with work, studies and eating, remember that your sleep can gain you a lot of ajr (reward).

Observe Sunnah by going to sleep with ablution and reciting one of the recommended dhikr (words of remembrance).

Go to bed as a submissive servant of Allah knowing that Unto Him is your return.

Try to memorize the simplest of adhkaar for sleep and use it tonight. Make those your last words as you nod off.

4. GET INTO ‘RELAX-MODE’

Just as sleep can become elusive in a new environment or in a different time zone; your work/study hours and day time activities could also affect you getting quality sleep.

Try to take a walk, bath or listen to your favorite Quran recitation. You could also read a book or do some writing/ journaling.

Get into a kind of transition mode, do something that calms your nerves and sets you in a relaxed mood.

Try to get into the relax-mode tonight with any one of the suggested activities above.
5. FORGIVE AND BE THANKFUL

Reflect on the blessings of the day and for making it to the end of yet another day. Some people, just like you, have completed their journey in the world today and moved to the next life. Be thankful for being alive to continue the journey and having many opportunities to utilize.

Do not go to bed angry or with revenge on your mind. Staying angry, revengeful or in a negative mood can interfere with your sleep. Try as much as possible to keep your heart warm and forgiving.

Try it tonight – say Alhamdulillah from your heart for this special gift of life and forgive that *one person* before you go to sleep.

Doing it Better

What are your sleep habits like right now?

Well, it can always get better. Focus on 1 habit this week so as not to feel overwhelmed.

In what other ways can you make your sleep habits more rewarding? Share your ideas below in the comments…

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