We all know we should be getting somewhere between 7-9 hours of sleep a night. But how many of us actually are getting it? Between the early morning meetings and the late night last minute tasks. Often, we struggle to get to bed at a consistent time and wake up at a consistent time. But, while we are scurrying around trying to meet our goals and climb to success, sleep could be the missing piece that catapults us ahead.
While you sleep your brain creates new pathways to help you learn and remember information. Have you had days of not being able to recall the simplest of ideas? A lack of sleep could be the reason why. Sleep helps learning and problem solving skills.Sleep also helps you make decisions! I know I have stood in front of the refrigerator trying to figure out a meal and been completely unable to decide. Or avoided having to make decisions, like picking a date or time, because you just couldn't pull it out of the fog. Sleep also helps us pay attention. Ahem... to those space cadets. And for you creatives... it helps us be CREATIVE! If you have to continuously create for your income this is truly important. Don't you feel a difference when you have a full nights rest and have the creative flow versus exhuastion, trying to focus and pull every last drop of creativity out of your soul with no avail.
Sleep is the time when the body repairs itself. Sleep help maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry. You ever notice when you are exhausted you are eating more. I know I have! Somehow I am feeling hungrier trying to keep myself awake and going.
Sleep to Success
So sleep really does effect our ability to perform. You might be thinking that you work just fine off of five hours of sleep and you may. But most of us see out creativity suffer, our tempers rise, our food choices become unhealthier, and we make poorer choices, handling difficult situations with rash thinking. There are times where getting less sleep is a necessity, like when you have a new born in the house. That tumultuous time will ease, where a routine will become easier to get in to. For those of us staying up late to watch TV, or work, we have to reassess the benefit that it is doing for us in the long run. Are you working smarter or harder. Some times the late night work we cram in that takes 4 hours could easily be done in the morning with more clarity, in an hour. With more sleep we are able to handle the stressful situations with focus and high decision making power.
How to Get More Sleep
1. Put electronics away at a certain time every night. The blue light of your phone may be keeping you awake.
2. Only use your bed for sleep. Don't eat on it or watch TV in it. That way you train your body to know exactly what it is supposed to do when it lays down in bed - sleep.
3. Chose a set time that you will always go to bed and wake up. Make sure it is enough time to get your 7 to 9 hours of sleep.
4. Pay attention to what you eat before bed. Don't go to bed stuffed and uncomfortable.
5. Be aware of caffeine and alcohol intake. Make sure you keep caffeine intake to before 1 pm, or test your boundaries and know how late you can drink caffeine and still sleep well. (Remember this includes tea, not just coffee.) Make sure to give your body an hour or two to detox before going to bed after drinking.
6. Include physical activity in your daily routine. Promotes better sleep. But be aware that physical activities right before bed may not be best, test it out for yourself.
7. Create a restful environment that is ideal for sleeping. Usually this means cool, dark, and quiet. I know need a little noise, so I play a fan app for my sound.
8. Have a nightly routine to unwind. This helps your body and your mind get ready for sleep.
9. Avoid to many naps.
10. Make sure your mattress and pillow are comfortable.
11. Review your medications. Make sure you are not taking things that prevent your from sleeping right before bed OR taking medications that cause drowsiness, in the morning.
12. Write down your woes. Crawling into bed to lay there and ponder, think and worry won't lead to sleep. Getting the thoughts out before crawling into bed can be a good way to clear your mind. Make sure you have a plan of action of how you will tackle each issue or problem tomorrow, so you can lay it to rest for now.
13. Listen to a bed time story. Load a familiar audio book that you know well so it doesn't engage you. Or listen to relaxing music.
14. Spray a sleep-inducing scent.
15. Consider kicking out furry bedmates. Your pets may be active in the late night or early morning. If they cause you to wake up prematurely or in the middle of the night, then it might be a good idea for them to go. But, if your animal soothes you before you sleep and is a good cuddle buddy then you maybe they should stay.
16. Breathe deeply - this reduces your heart rate and blood pressure. It relaxes your body priming you for sleep.
17. Stay put if you wake up. If you don't fall back to sleep after 15 minutes - then get up.
If you are a goal driven person, then make eight hours of sleep a priority. We all need it to be our best every day. Remember to write out your stresses before laying down. Question if staying up late is the best plan to tackle a project or a task, or if the morning you will be able to get it done more quickly and efficiently. These are just a few ways to try and figure out the best way for you to sleep more and lead you to succes.
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