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Can Japan’s Kaizen method help you sleep?

The Japanese word ‘Kaizen’ means change, and it has become a philosophical framework that guides individuals to transform their habits. Using psychological teachings around why we find it difficult to give up bad habits and stick to new challenges, the Kaizen method encourages us to take incremental steps towards achieving identified short and long-term goals. Kaizen techniques can be a great way to alter your sleep habits and adopt a new, healthier bedtime routine. Some of these methods are more evidence-based than others, but even having the intention to change your sleep habits is a great step in the right direction towards better sleep.

1. Improve your sleep environment

For the best possible sleep, your bedroom should be a calm and clean environment, free of distractions. There are certainly incremental steps you can take that don’t require a minimalist overhaul.

– Dedicating time to keeping your room clean throughout the week when you are busy and exhausted can seem like an impossible task, so try setting a timer for a couple of minutes each night to do a quick tidy.

– Keeping your room cool, dark, and quiet is ideal for sleep, so try a sleeping mask and earplugs if blackout blinds and soundproofing are too big a step.

– Scents like lavender have shown to be calming, using a spray or a diffuser is a no-fuss way to signal to your body that it is time to wind down.

2. Self-care bedtime rituals

Implementing self-care rituals can help you to relax and feel good as you transition towards bedtime.

– It may seem unrealistic considering how plugged in we are these days, but attempting a communication blackout and switching off screens as early as possible is one of the best things you can do for yourself. A first step would be trying to keep technology out of the bed.

– Doing some yoga or meditation before bed can be really calming and help you get into the right headspace for sleep. Check out our previous blog post on some easy poses for beginners.

– Even if it’s just for ten minutes, reading a book is a good way to transition your brain towards sleep.

3. Utilise a journal

– Doing a ‘brain dump’ and writing down everything that is making your brain spin a million miles an hour can give you some space to let go of everything on your mind.

– You can also use a journal to record the length and quality of your sleep and any factors that might have affected you that night. That way you can track your progress and success in implementing new habits, and tweak anything that is not working.

The Kaizen method is all about incrementalism, so even if you can only implement one new thing from this list, you’re on the right track to better sleep.

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