So, you’ve got the job of your dreams and you’re so excited about your first day that you can’t fall asleep.
Hoping that the excitement will pass by itself isn’t a good idea. This may keep you up for too long, so you will wake up groggy and slow (if you manage to get any sleep at all), which probably isn’t an impression you want to make on your coworkers.
So, how do you get proper sleep before your first day at work?
Easily! Here are 5 proven ways to score some good shut-eye. Hopefully, at least one of them will work for you.
1) Get Tired
An enjoyable evening workout is the easiest way to get proper sleep. It literally kills two birds with one stone:
- allows you to let go of intrusive thoughts;
- lets physical exhaustion do the job and make you sleepy.
Note that some workouts are more beneficial for your sleep than others:
Dynamic gym session.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, lifting weights can be helpful for your sleep no matter what part of the day you dedicate to this activity. The main idea is to raise your body temperature and increase blood pressure. When you finish your training, your body temperature and the levels of blood pressure start to decrease, thereby making you sleepy.
Static exercises — such as yoga, stretching, and pilates — use your body weight instead of barbells and dumbbells. They have the same effect on your body parameters as the gym workout does, but they also relax stiff muscles, which may be beneficial for your sleep.
Moderate pace jogging.
Jogging is a monotonous activity and along with tiring you out and keeping you lean, it also has an antistress effect. Just choose a picturesque neighborhood and enjoy the views while you are running.
Note that you need to allow at least a 1,5-2-hour gap between exercising and the actual bedtime so that you would go to bed completely relaxed and prepared to get sound sleep.
Obviously, your main goal is to wind down and switch off all your work-related excitement. You can leave it for tomorrow, when you hit the office full of energy and motivation.
So, what can you do to get a good snooze?
Mindfulness, or guided meditation.
The easiest one. Just download an app or a Spotify podcast with soothing ambient sounds and the voice guide and follow through.
Controlled breathing is also a form of meditation, which is borrowed from yoga practices in Ancient India. But you can refer to modern techniques as well. The most common is the 4-7-8 method, and it may actually help you fall asleep in less than a minute, so it’s definitely worth a try.
Muscle relaxation methods.
Progressive muscle relaxation may not sound as a meditation method, but it is. In fact, you repeat the same steps: focusing on your muscles and using controlled breathing. So, the aim is to put a strain on a certain muscle group — many people begin from the face muscles — for 10 seconds. Then, relax the strained muscles for another 10 seconds and move further to the next group.
Typically, it requires 1-2 minutes to feel completely relaxed and drift off. This method is used by American military veterans and allows them to sleep even in a noisy environment.
You can also try visualization and imagine a peaceful place that can help you relax your mind. Visualization can work alone or when combined with other meditation methods, such as muscle relaxation.
3) Refer to Sleeping Aids
Another way to enjoy a peaceful sleep is to use pills. The modern market can offer you hundreds of sleep aids that won’t make you dizzy the morning after and that are devoid of habit-forming mechanisms.
Here are the most common of them:
Melatonin pills contain a lab-made analog of your sleep hormone and can boost its production, which will help you fall asleep in minutes. Melatonin balances the circadian rhythms and provides relaxation for the brain and the body.
Adaptogenic herbs — such as ashwagandha, rhodiola, and holy basil — may help combat stress by reducing cortisol levels, and, as a result, anxious and intrusive thoughts.
Glycine is an amino acid with potent sleep-promoting properties. In particular, it can increase the amount of NREM sleep and cool your down, which boosts melatonin production. Moreover, deep NREM sleep is more restorative, so you will wake up with a fresh head.
Note that even though these are over-the-counter drugs, it’s still a good idea to consult with your doctor about taking them.
Now, what you certainly don’t need to do is try to go to bed earlier.
Yes, you’ve read that right.
One night before work won’t make a difference to your usual sleeping schedule, but it can easily disrupt your shut-eye and leave you awake for longer than you’re used to. So, for a guaranteed sleep, just pop a pill and go to bed at your usual time.
4) Serve a Dinner
What you eat can also impact the quality of your sleep. Not only because when you’re full, you feel drowsy, but also due to the fact that some foods are more sleep-inducing than others.
So, here’s what you may want to include in your sleep-promoting dinner meal:
Salmon, mackerel, and tuna combine the high amount of fatty acids and vitamin D. Both of these substances can promote sleep because they take part in the production of serotonin, which contributes to sleep quality.
Bananas are a great source of natural melatonin, so grabbing a fruit before bed may help you boost the levels of this hormone.
Almonds also can boost melatonin, but they are also high in magnesium and B vitamins, which are crucial for muscular and nervous system relaxation.
Milk and cottage cheese are rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that takes part in serotonin and melatonin synthesis.
5) Do Something Relaxing
Along with meditation, self-care is one of the most efficient ways to manage stress and reduce excitement.
Dedicating some time to yourself regularly may consolidate positive association with serenity and relaxation in your brain. Thus, when you repeat that activity, your brain triggers the relaxation mechanism.
Here are the rituals you can incorporate into your daily schedule:
Take a bath.
The warm bubbly bath provides relaxation for your muscles. Also, it warms up your body as the workout does, so when you slip into the bed, you start to cool down and become sleepy.
Sip some tea.
Chamomile or passionflower teas have pronounced relaxing properties and may contribute to easier shut-eye.
Write your thoughts down.
Writing practices are a therapeutic and soothing activity. You can write down your thoughts and expectations from the first working day and compare them to reality later.