Work, exercise, email, relationships, reading, family, fun.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tinder, Netflix, YouTube.
Always something, seeking to deprive us of sleep.
Never enough time in the day. Never enough time to sleep; so, more often than not, our sleep suffers, making us tired during the day, ever reliant on coffee, tea or energy drinks. None of this is good for our physical or mental health.
We can’t run around forever, coffee in one hand, phone in another, worrying about one thing or another without getting enough rest. Apparently, wisdom comes with age, but none of us got the memo that perpetual exhaustion is also a part of growing up.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Breaking bad habits is hard, but sticking to bad habits — although it seems easy and comforting at the time — is harder on ourselves. In time, sticking to new habits, better habits, gets easier. We can look back, months or years after breaking from a bad habit — not sleeping enough, smoking, drinking, eating junk food, working too much — and wonder how we ever lived that way.
Once you start getting enough sleep, you will be amazed at the difference, and the positive knock-on effect on the rest of your life. It starts with putting positive night routines in place.
Night Hack: Get to Sleep Faster
You need to stop scrolling.
Yes, just stop. Put it down, switch it off and give your eyes a break.
(Not this, of course, I mean stop scrolling on your phone late at night).
Study after study after study shows us that smartphones make it harder to fall asleep. We need our brains to produce melatonin, signalling it’s time to sleep, but the light smartphones emit suppresses this.
We are constantly plugged into a stream of information, news, comments, reactions, games, apps, shops and videos — on Netflix and YouTube — that keep us awake. Let’s face it: smartphones, tablets and laptops are contributing to our perpetual exhaustion.
Getting enough sleep was still a challenge before technology dominated our attention, but we should acknowledge this is a prime modern culprit disrupting nightly routines.
Stress and worry.
No matter how well things are going, there is always something to worry about. You could get a promotion, win a big client, start an amazing new relationship, finish a creative project, and still have things your mind won’t let go, especially when it is time to sleep.
Try as we might, we can’t always prevent sleepless troubled nights, but we can take simple positive steps to clear our minds.
Clear Your Mind: Have A More Productive Sleep
Be positive about your wins. Be grateful for what you have and what you’ve done — give yourself a moment to reflect on your accomplishments. Too often, we rush our way through a long to-do list and try to put as many ticks on the page as we can. We finish the day exhausted, aware we’ve accomplished something, but rarely really acknowledging our achievements. Instead, we are thinking about what needs to be done tomorrow, or worrying about something else. Allow yourself a moment to reflect on what you’ve done and have gratitude for your accomplishments.
Focus on your priorities for tomorrow, then breath out and let them go. Writing them down helps. Clear your mind of the issues you will deal with tomorrow. There are only so many hours in the day. Try not to spend the night worrying about something you can’t do straight away. And even if you can send an email, or do another piece of work, remember that we all need to recharge our batteries. Running ourselves into exhaustion won’t make it easier to achieve our aims.
Apps can help. Technology might be destroying our sleep, but used wisely, it can help save it too! If you can’t seem to quiet your mind, there’s a slew of apps that can save the day, including Headspace, Calm, Brain.fm, Sleepio, and Pzizz. Every app has a different approach to getting you to shut down, so find one that works for you. It can truly make all the difference when trying to combat the terrible disease of “too much thinking.”
Make sure your To-Do List is made before bed, ideally when you are finishing up your work day. If you don’t, you run the risk of worrying yourself about those things all night. Get them on paper and out of your mind before you leave the office.
Keep your desk and inbox clean. Less to worry about. It’s a great theory, and it works: clean desk, clean inbox, clean mind. Even if you don’t have email on your phone (not everyone does, but it can be a blessing to stop you worrying about work or clients 24/7), you know that a cluttered inbox can cause stress. It means you’ve not been able to deal with everything you want during the day. Do your best to plan your day so that you can finish with a tidy desk and inbox.
And finally, try and stay away from social networks and emails at least 30 minutes before bed.
Need even more in-depth sleep tips? Here’s 15 more.
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