09 Jun Wanna Get More Done? Learn To Sleep Like A Baby
I think it is fair to say that I am a productivity junkie. I’m always on the quest for the latest and greatest way to get more done, improve my focus, reach my goals, manage my time, master my life – and largely, to get more done and teach you what I learn along the way.
And no matter how many books I have read on the subject, Ted Talks and You Tube videos watched, lectures and workshops attended, tasks lists tried, apps downloaded, bullet journals created (you get the idea) – I can say with great certainty that nothing has more impact on your productivity then how much sleep you are getting.
It All Starts With Sleep.
The amount and quality of sleep that you get directly affects all aspects of your waking life, including your mental sharpness, productivity, emotional balance, creativity, physical vitality, and even your weight. No other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort!
If you knew how important sleep is for your immune system, stress management, reducing inflammation (which is related to all sorts of health issues including cancer, heart disease and diabetes), weight control, safety (since you are more alert when rested), improved memory, mental health, healthier skin and of course, beauty, maybe you’d make it more of a priority!
You see, feeling good and having an abundance of energy is not something that happens in a vacuum, nor to those that are lucky. It is something that is a result of simple consistent habits that yield some pretty amazing gains. After all, being tired and feeling lousy really sucks. When you’re low on energy, everything feels harder than it should. Your mind feels like sludge, your body like mush and you wind up dragging yourself through the day and you can kiss productivity good-bye.
What is Zapping Your Zzzzs?
I believe that there are two main reasons we’re not getting enough sleep. The first has to do with not making sleep a priority, which in most cases boils down to time management. (It is amazing how easily things can get rearranged when you make getting 7 – 8 hours a night of sleep a priority.)
The second reason is a general ignorance of everyday things that can rob you of your beauty sleep. Take a moment to see if anything on the list below is robbing you of a good night’s sleep.
❒ Too Much Caffeine – especially late in the day (Coffee, Tea, Soda, Chocolate, etc.)
❒ Late Night Snacking
❒ Alcohol Consumption
❒ Noise at night
❒ Watching TV, using the computer or reading on devices before going to bed.
❒ Too much light (including alarm clocks, lights from gadgets and outside light)
❒ Pets (especially on the bed)
❒ Snoring partners (and snoring ourselves which could be a sign of sleep apnea. Ask you doctor about this)
Whatever the reason, there are some simple steps you can take to improve your sleep.
10 Ways to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
- Make sleep a priority. Just as you schedule time for work and other commitments, you should schedule enough time for sleep. Instead of cutting back on sleep in order to tackle the rest of your daily tasks, put sleep at the top of your to-do list and re-order how you spend your waking hours.
- Aim for at least 7-8 hours every night. Make sure to block off enough time for sleep each night. Consistency is the key. Set a regular bedtime as well as a regular time to wake up.
- Create a Bedtime Ritual (and stick to a schedule). This could include listening to soft soothing music, a warm bath, reading, lowering the lights and setting the mood for quiet relaxation. Your body and mind will benefit from winding down at the end of the day.
- Make Your Bed and Bedroom Comfortable. This includes sleeping on a good mattress and comfortable pillows. Create a comfortable and soothing environment conducive to rest and sleep. This means creating a quiet, cool and dark space. You may want to reconsider inviting pets to sleep in your bed!
- Turn Off Your TV and Computer Devices. Did you know that watching TV, playing games and reading on backlit devices can actually stimulate your mind, rather than relaxing it. Try listening to music or audio books instead, or practicing relaxation exercises such as deep breathing or meditating.
- Keep a Sleep Diary. Record when you go to bed, when you get up, your total hours of sleep, and how you feel during the day. As you keep track of your sleep, you’ll discover your natural patterns and get to know your sleep needs.
- Exercise During the Day. Exercise helps promote a good night’s sleep. Try exercising during the day or late afternoon. Exercising too close to bedtime can actually stimulate your system, which can interfere with your sleep.
- Limit Daytime Naps. Naps are nothing short of delicious. But taking too long of a nap during the day, or naps too close to bedtime can leave you wide away at 2AM! If you are a napper, limit your naps to be between 10 and 30 minutes and try not to nap later than mid afternoon.
- Manage Stress. When your mind races and worries about everything on your to-do list, personal matters or anything else that keeps you awake at night, it’s a great idea to write it down (whatever is on your mind) before going to bed and tucking that list away until the morning.
Discuss Sleep With Your Doctor. If you are struggling with insomnia, talk with your doctor to investigate what’s at the root of your sleeplessness. It is important to rule out any underlying medical disorders and come up with a strategy to get you back on track.