Many people struggle to sleep at night, and this directly impacts their mindset. The consequence being that without adequate sleep, we can feel groggy, dazed and too tired even to motivate ourselves to make meaningful, positive changes in our lives.
For many years throughout my career, I averaged 3-4 hours of sleep a night, which eventually led me to develop insomnia.
I didn’t schedule a set time to go to sleep but instead made it a habit to flop into bed at around midnight but not before first checking my Blackberry and answering a few emails. I would then fall into a deep sleep which lasted exactly 2 hours every night without fail. Subsequently, my mind would decide that 2 am was the perfect time to solve the world’s problems, plan my day and think about all the things I needed to. I became acutely accustomed to staring at the bedroom ceiling, making mental to-do-lists while my husband slept blissfully next to me. And then, finally, after tiring myself out from all my problem solving I would fall into a deep, blissful sleep at around 5 am only to have the alarm clock go off at 7 am to start getting ready for work.
This cycle of poor sleep lasted years which meant that I felt perpetually tired and wired. I was tired because I was so exhausted from lack of sleep. I was wired because I was constantly working in overdrive mode and pounding my system with technology right up until the last minute before going to bed. In effect, I never gave myself a chance to slow down and clear my mind.
Sleep is essential to our wellbeing, yet many of us are sleep-deprived and acquire a sleep deficit each night. Work and family obligations consume much of our time, and when we add not making sleep a priority to the equation, lack of sleep becomes a habit. Which means we do not obtain the optimum 8 hours sleep a night required for our physical and mental health.
Additionally, research shows that the light from our computers, phones, TV’s and other forms of technology suppress melatonin (which helps control our sleep and wake cycles) which leads to disruptive and poor sleep. Poor sleep contributes to overall fatigue, irritability, forgetfulness, poor decision making, short temperament and depression as well as raises the risk of serious medical issues.
In essence, we need to make sleep a priority not only for our health and wellbeing but also so that we can have a clear and focussed mindset to live a positive, fulfilling and meaningful life.
To address my own insomnia, I implemented lifestyle changes which included:
If you have poor sleep habits, and want to sleep better, consider implementing the following:
Enjoying a warm bath
Writing in a journal
Listening to an audiobook or podcast.
By making these small changes, you will notice an improvement in your sleep as well as your day to day mindset and wellbeing, which will not only benefit you but also those around you.
According to a Deloitte study, 58% of people check their phones within 30 minutes of going to sleep. Considering this, ask yourself the following questions:
Consider keeping a sleep diary to gain an awareness of your sleep habits. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy – just write down the following:
Once completing this exercise for a week or two, consider if there are any changes you need to implement to improve the quality of your sleep.
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