The single most important thing I’ve learned in 25 years of life.

Today, I’m seeing a ton of Thought Catalog links and “Things I Know At Age XX” stories on Facebook. So, just two weeks after my birthday, I suddenly feel inspired to share the most important thing I’ve learned after 25 years of life: sleep earlier and sleep more.

This isn’t a secret to success (or grown-up life) by any stretch of imagination, but, like all good advice, it’s easier said than done. I feel like I can claim to have finally “learned” this lesson because I’ve been sleeping before midnight consistently for the first time ever.

The results are fabulous. Going to bed earlier naturally means that I squeeze in more sleep. Platitudes about how wonderful mornings are aside, I love that I can actually have breakfast. I can even read a little news while I have my breakfast. I’m no longer dropping things, rifling through my closet, and generally making a huge mess to get out the door ten minutes after I roll out of bed. (The ability to do this is both a blessing and a curse.) I’m so much more productive at work, so I’ve been going home at a godly hour. I even have time to write a brand-new blog post, in the middle of the freaking week.

In other words, for the first time in three years, I finally feel like I’m getting my life back.

With this new found wisdom, I feel obligated to share a few things I’ve learned about sleeping better along the way. I’ll keep it short, because I’ve lost count of how many articles I’ve read and then promptly ignored about sleep hygiene. Here are five golden rules that have been working for me: