Sleep is so incredibly important (she writes at 2 am). It quite literally refuels your body so you can share your awesomeness with the world, instead of drudging around like a zombie fresh of the set of The Walking Dead. I’m no stranger to lack of sleep — I stay up late and wake up early (relative to) and barely get a full five hours every night. The impact is not great on my daily life, thus one of my goals for this year is to make sleep a priority.
What a lack of sleep does to you
Being sleep deprived (AKA not getting enough of it) makes you lethargic, causes prolonged fatigue, makes you moody and easily irritated, causes your attention to dwindle and makes it hard for you to concentrate. Besides making you moody and irritable (which are said to be the first things to go), a lack of sleep causes neurological disturbances — making it easier for you to forget, can cause you to experience hallucinations and even contribute to memory loss. And, it can help you gain weight. Basically, it’s not good for you.
It’s safe to say that you need to make sleeping better a priority in your adult life. Have you ever stood up from staring at the computer for three straight hours only to realize it’s now 2 am? You get up and stumble towards the bathroom, quite literally, because your sleep deprivation has caused your equilibrium to be thrown off balance.
This is the regular experience of someone who just can’t seem to get enough sleep. My experience.
Benefits of getting a good sleep
But if you make sleep a priority and start to get a good sleep can do some amazing things for your physical and mental body. Some of which include:
- Boosting your creativity
- Helping your body heal itself
- Maintain a healthy weight (or get to one)
- Lower your stress
- Avoid car accidents
- Heighten your attention
- Lower your risk of depression
Sleep is good for you. Really, really good for you. It’s right up there with air, water and food.
Sleep, you need it. And you probably need more of it.
How to make sleep a priority
Alright, I’m assuming you are now properly convinced that getting more sleep should be on the top of your priority list.
If you find yourself relating to my sleepless woes, I’ve got some tips and tricks to help you improve your sleep quality and thus, your life.
Consistency is key
Your body develops a natural sleep cycle over time and the more you give into that natural cycle, the better sleep you get. To take advantage of this go to bed and wake up at the same time.
No sleeping in
Sleeping in screws with your body’s natural sleep cycle (see above comment). So even when you’re dying to get an extra few Zzzs on the weekend, refrain!
Turn that phone off
Don’t text or play on your phone right before you go to sleep or wake up. The screen screws with your sleepiness (and apparently wake-up mode).
Avoid taking long naps throughout the day. Limiting your naps to 20 minutes or less in the early afternoon to avoid ruining your regular sleep cycle.
Get more sun
Sun is apparently great for sleep. Now, I’m no doctor, so I have no idea why this works. In the morning the sun helps you wake up, it can give you a kick of energy in the afternoon and it genuinely makes you happy.
The gross “e” word. Exercise is the bane of my existence, but it apparently helps you sleep. Getting a little bit of exercise throughout the day can help to speed up your metabolism (which is good for losing weight too), elevates your body temperature and releases important chemicals into your body. But for exercise to be it’s most effective, do it no later than 3 hours before you go to sleep.
Make sleep a priority
So while you’re evaluating what you’d like to do to improve your 2019 and make it the best year ever (it really should be), consider making sleeping better a priority and putting it at the top of your list. Can you imagine what you’ll be able to accomplish, do and see with all of that extra energy, mindfulness and presence?
And on that note, I’m off to bed.