Sometimes when things comes easy to us we think they come easy to everyone else too. Now I know that Simone Biles realizes that the rest of us aren’t somersaulting power houses and Michael Phelps knows that the average person doesn’t butterly nearly as fast as he does. These great Olympians spend a lot of time working on their craft. They are great but they’re really really invested. But when something comes easy to us without seemingly “working at it” we can assume it comes easy to everyone else too. When my former intern jokingly said to me “No wonder you look so young, you get more sleep than anyone I have ever met!” I was a little surprised. “Do I really get more sleep than everyone else?” I thought to myself.
After that I started noticing lots of conversations with coworkers and friends about their lack of sleep. Sometimes it was in a boasting manner- “I don’t need a lot of sleep. 4 hours is enough for me” and sometimes it sounded desperate- “I was up all night, I have to find a way to get some sleep!”
Arianna Huffington- co founder and editor and chief of the Huffington Post, has been in the news lately talking about an experience she had where she had been functioning on very little sleep for quite some time and then fainted from exhaustion! She broke her cheekbone and needed five stitches over her eye. After that wake up call she wrote a whole book about sleep! Her best seller The Sleep Revolution focuses on sleep as a way to success, but even if you aren’t a CEO of a fortune five hundred company sleep is the key to every day success and here’s why.
People who get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night are more likely to :
Maintain a healthy weight-Obesity is linked to sleep deprivation. It isn’t just all that late night snacking, there is an actual hormone called Leptin that drops when you are sleep deprived. This causes you to get hungry faster and crave unhealthy, high-fat foods.
Not Feel As Stressed-this is self explanatory, but if your body is constantly in “On” Mode it will eventually start to wear down. Shutting down gives your body the chance to reboot.
Not Suffer from Health Issues- High blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and strokes are linked to sleep deprivation
Get Along Better With Others-Tired people are grumpy-enough said
Think More Clearly-Hitting the reset button leads to clarity. You are able to think clearer and be a big picture thinker.
So what do you do if sleep doesn’t come easy to you? While I made it clear earlier sleep and I are good old friends, there are some things I do to cultivate that friendship and you can too.
- Make your bedroom your sanctuary-I like a clutter free, serene bedroom. Simple things like making your bed each day and keeping the clutter at a minimum make crawling into bed a more pleasant and less stressful experience.
- Invest in quality bedding-I’m not going to go crazy about thread counts, but make sure your pillow is the right one for you. I go all Goldilocks with my pillows (the Tempurpedic Cloud is “Just right!”), and ensure that your sheets and comforter are the highest quality within your budget.
- Make Your Bedroom Screen Free-I don’t have a TV in my bedroom but even when I did I made sure it was off before going to bed. Train yourself to sleep without the TV. The sounds and lights disrupt sleep patterns.
- Keep a Journal in Your Nightstand-On the rare occasions where I do have racing thoughts that won’t allow me to sleep, I jot them down in a journal. Knowing that I won’t forget whatever is racing around in my head allows me to release it.
- Keep a Book or Magazine by your bed-I know a lot of people who grab their phones when they can’t sleep to start browsing social media but the screen actually gives off blue light that prevents the production of Melatonin. Your body needs Melatonin to make it sleepy.
- Have a Bedtime Ritual-Rituals help train your brain and body to expect something. My simple nighttime ritual of brushing my teeth, flossing and doing a skin care/hair routine lets my brain/body know that its time for bed. I never skip this no matter how tired I am. Do the same thing every night.
Camomile Tea, Epsom Salt Baths, Meditation and Essential Oils are all excellent sleep aids as well.
Arianna Huffington urges us to stop being so hyper connected and live more inspired, joyful lives by applying the simple principle of getting more sleep. I couldn’t agree more. When I look at my own sleep practices which I considered to be innate, I realized they really aren’t. I didn’t just get lucky and it doesn’t just come easy to me by chance. And while I won’t win gold medals like Simone and Michael because unfortunately sleeping is not an Olympic Sport, Im intentional with my sleep. I have done it so long I don’t even think about it. Anything that we are intentional about will eventually become habitual and we won’t even realize we are doing it. That I believe, is the key to success.
Until Next Post,