For many years throughout my career, I averaged 3-4 hours of sleep a night, which ultimately 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 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. My mind then decided 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, tiring myself from all my problem solving I would then usually 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.
And this cycle of poor sleep lasted years which meant that I was perpetually tired and wired.
Tired because I was so exhausted from lack of sleep. 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 take up our time and before we know it lack sleep becomes a habit, meaning we do not obtain the optimum 8 hours sleep a night that is needed for our physical and mental health. Furthermore, 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. 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 conscious and meaningful life.
To address my insomnia, I implemented lifestyle changes which included:
To get a good night sleep, consider implementing the following:
Enjoying a warm bath
Writing in a journal
By making these small changes, you will notice an improvement in your sleep as well as your day to day mindset and wellbeing, which not only benefits you but also those around you.
Key questions to ask yourself:
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: