We’ve all done it. There is a deadline, and we sacrifice sleep and well-being to get it done.
I used to believe I could continue running on adrenaline; I worked well under pressure. I turned in high-quality work.
And I ran my body into the ground. I would collapse after each deadline. In my 20’s, my body was more forgiving. In my 30’s, my body sends messages that this isn’t working.
It took me a long time to realize that sleep is productive. Yes, I had heard that from others, and I believed I was different.
Sleep is the time my body recharges itself; much like my cell phone does during the night. It’s the time when all systems reset, and I can begin anew.
For those who have trouble sleeping, I have some tips here that have worked for me. There is a lot of information here. No need to do it all in one day!
Start an evening routine. Brush teeth, take a bubble bath, drink herbal tea, get in to pajamas, lay out clothing and items for the next day, review schedule for the next day, and so on. I’ve found that my routine should start about an hour before I go to bed. This tells my body and brain that it’s time to start winding down. The key to the evening routine is to physically and mentally slow down. Treat your movements like a slow dance and move elegantly as if through water.
Banish the TV. Take it out of the bedroom. I used to believe the television helped put me to sleep. Trouble was, I noticed I would force my eyelids open to finish a show I was interested in, or let the sounds lull me to sleep. The light from the TV diminished the amount of melatonin my body produces. Melatonin is the chemical our bodies naturally produce that makes us feel rested when we awaken. The darker it is (and the longer we experience darkness), the the more melatonin we produce.
Make your bedroom dark. Light affects how much melatonin we produce (see above). If you use a night light, play with navigating in the dark. You may surprise yourself. If light comes in through the curtains, buy or make thick ones to block out more light.
Create a silent space. If you live in the city and outside noise comes in, you may want to wear earplugs. I use earplugs when I travel. The sound of my breath is soothing…like being in the womb again. If there is still a lot of noise, you may want to save up and install double-paned windows.
Create a sanctuary. The bedroom should feel restful when you enter. Clean it and organize it. Remove the clutter. Remove the desk and computer and anything that may remind of you work you may have to do at another time. The bedroom is not the time or place to think about work. If you must have your home office in the bedroom, completely screen it off so that there is no way to see it. Plants, standing screens, or curtains can be used as inexpensive screens.
Buy a comfortable mattress. We spend one-third of our lives sleeping (ideally, that’s 8 hours in a 24-hour day). Might as well invest the money on a good mattress that we sleep well on. Pay well for good sleep. You’ll get great returns.