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Ah, sleep. Most of us crave it. All of us need it. Few of us get enough of it.
In her book, The Sleep Revolution, Ariana Huffington tells her story of years of sleep deprivation and it’s deleterious effect on her body. She literally collapsed at her desk from lack of sleep. I can certainly relate to this.
Also, in her TED talk, Ariana tells us that “the way to a more productive, more inspired, more joyful life is getting enough sleep”.
For years I worked long hours — a one and a half hour commute, bracketed by 12-13 hour days, with only rare bathroom breaks. I ate lunch at my desk and spent these very long days hunched over my keyboard, churning out work nobody remembers. Couple this scenario with even longer nights laying awake worrying and fretting about everything ,and you have the perfect storm for an unhealthy person.
It is no wonder that one day I tried running for the bus and my joints wouldn’t move. I had gotten overweight, my blood pressure was out of control, and I lived in constant fog. I was also depressed and forgetful. At first I blamed age but realized that was just a copout we sometimes use to avoid dealing with our issues.
Failing to get adequate sleep is no joke. Getting enough pays off in a more healthy mind and body. On Dr. Rhonda Patrick’s Found My Fitness podcast, Dr. Matthew Walker, states that getting enough sleep at the correct level, basically makes us more creative and smarter. You can listen below. Dr. Walker suggests that we need sleep:
- Before learning — to “soak up” what we are learning (5.46) and,
- After learning — to effectively “hit the save” button on what you have learned, so you don’t forget.
With proper rest and correct sleep, he says, the brain is refreshed to start acquiring new memories again, and the cycle restarts.
Dr. Rhonda Patrick’s work is very high level but is always worth a listen.
My Own Methods
Recently, my Tony Robbins results coach encouraged me to wake up earlier so that I could work on the long list of projects I was involved in: taking an accounting program full time, working full time, starting a podcast and blog. All the while dealing with my own illness and the death of my sister. I found that waking up at 3:00am allowed me to do the research necessary to produce my podcast as well as gave me an extra hour to study and do homework. This means I had to be in bed by 8:00pm. But it worked. Going to bed this early also prevents me from eating late because by the time I get home from my day job, I am too tired to eat. Knowing this, I took care to eat a big breakfast and lunch.
- use the sleep app Sleep Cycle to track my sleep;
- installed black shades over my regular blinds;
- replaced my bedside lamp with the Sleep Shift Ready Light bulb.
(See also this NY Times article about lightbulbs that aid sleep).
Another tool I use to get to sleep faster is the doctor recommended, Marpac Dohm white noise machine. It blocks out any outside noise, such as noisy kids and neighbors, so that my sleep is not interrupted.
Drugs is the last thing I would recommend to help you sleep but your situation may warrant some type of sleep aid. Before you go down that path you may want to check out Sleeping Without Pills. Of course, you and your doctor should decide what’s best for your health.
Shut your eyes and discover the great ideas that lie inside us.
The results of changing up my schedule to accommodate better sleep, so I could perform and produce better, had a lasting effect on my lifestyle. I have decided to retart this schedule since I know it works for me. Also, as long as I have a full time job, I will need to make adjustments in my life to accommodate taking care of myself and pursuing my purpose.
How well do you sleep?
What is your sleep habit? Do you get enough? If your sleep hygiene is questionable and you feel tired all the time, maybe you could begin to change that by tracking your sleep pattern first. Try a sleep app, like Sleep Cycle mentioned above. There are many free ones available. By using a sleep tool, you will learn what adjustments to make going forward.
Finally, sometimes lack of sleep may be due to worry over our situation and our children. I could tell you not to worry but I know it’s easier said than done. Three tips to help you fall asleep when you just can’t:
- Drink a cup of warm milk or herbal tea, such as camomile.
- Try Jon Gabriel’s evening visualization. It’s free and can be found here.
- Take a warm bath. Add some epsom salt and a few drops of lavender oil.
Then, get in the bed!! No laundry. No more “checking” on the kids.
It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.John Steinbeck
**This post contains affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase after following one of the links, I may earn a commission. Thanks.
J. Rosemarie Francis moved from sleeping on her cousin’s basement floor with her young children to working for a multinational investment firm. She has overcome bullying, abuse, and neglect, as a child to now pursuing her dreams. Send J. Rosemarie a message here.