To Sleep, Or Not To Sleep?
Getting good sleep every night puts us in our absolute optimal state to achieve any goal.
Yes, yes, we know.
The importance of a good night’s sleep isn’t news to any of us.
We’ve heard it a hundred times - quality sleep will help us be more productive, think clearer, give us more energy and regulate our hormones to help balance our mood, weight and overall mental and physical health.
What we also hear repeatedly, though, is that in order to achieve all our wildest ambitions, we need to be prepared to put in the time... sleep deprived and all.
More often than not, we’re tempted (or, more likely, encouraged) to trade our precious sleep in order to gain that extra time.
I once heard a motivational speaker declare that in order to work your day job AND run a start-up business on the side, you need to work eight hours during the day in your day job, and then eight hours at night on your business - every single day - or it’s not going to happen.
I honestly cannot imagine a more unhealthy, less productive way to reach your goals than to live life in a constant state of sleep deprivation.
But I do get where he’s coming from. The reality is, no, there are NOT enough hours in the day for you to work your nine-to-five, start and run your own business, indulge your creativity, fulfil your social life and also spend an hour before bed scrolling through Instagram. The problem is balance*, and the fact that we’re still holding on to old routines and time-wasters we always did.
*Hot tip: we pretty much always think the problem is balance. Balance, balance, balance…
We keep trading in our sleep in order to satisfy old habits, rather than be productive towards what we really want.
To achieve what’s actually important to us, we need to be acutely aware of where we place our time.
What portion of our time are we allocating to our career? Our health? Our social lives? What exactly are we doing with our down time? Are we spending it at a yoga class, reading a good book, or simply enjoying quality, restful sleep? Or are we watching TV re-runs or getting sucked into the social media vortex of time-waste?
But we’re also realists, and we know that achieving enough solid, refreshing sleep so you can hit goals every single day - particularly when you’re feeling kind of out of whack already - is way, way easier said than done, and it’s absolutely not going to happen overnight (pun totally intended, btw).
As you find balance on your Life Spectrum, we guarantee high quality sleep will start to come to you naturally, and you’re going to freaking love it. In the meantime, we’ve got some tips to perfect a before-bed routine so that your body knows it’s time for rest. Yes, it might feel a bit like when you were a kid and your parents had you on a strict bedtime protocol… but it worked, right?
Turn these ideas into habits, and you’ll find true balance is way closer than you realise.
- Keep bedtime to around the same time every day. Sounds simple, but you’ll amazed how much your body luuurves a good routine!
- Eat dinner as early as you can manage. A body that’s still digesting food when heading to bed is preoccupied - falling (and staying) asleep is not it’s first priority.
- A rather obvious one, but avoid liquids an hour before bed to prevent having to rise in the night. If your body doesn’ t feel the need to wake you up, it won’t!
- An hour before bed, have a cup of restful herbal tea to help dial down the senses, like this one.
- Invest in awesome cosy PJs that you just love, and get dressed into them half an hour before you intend to go to bed.
- Avoid screens! We cannot stress this enough. Your TV, phone and laptop screens emit ‘blue light’ which wreaks havoc on your circadian rhythms, and makes it SO much more difficult to fall asleep. If you just can’t resist, invest in some glasses with blue light lenses to help filter out those disrupting rays - even then, do your best to keep screen time to a minimum.
- Make your sleeping environment as dark as possible. If need be, purchase some dark, heavy curtains or block out blinds. Get yourself a silky soft eye mask to block out any unwanted light disturbance.
- Learn about essential oils and how they can promote peaceful sleep. Lavender essential oil is the most well-known for relaxing your nervous system and calming your emotions, but you'll find different oils have different benefits for everyone. It's well worth your time to research!
- Try one of these nifty sleep bracelets which omit a frequency scientifically proven to help you fall asleep and stay there (how cool is that?!).
- Try a sleep monitoring app on your phone or through an activity tracker like the amazing Bellabeat leaf to help you understand whether you’re achieving quality sleep. Take note of sleep patterns that arise in particular circumstances - for instance, if you had some chocolate after dinner, what did this do to your sleep?
- Try out a purpose-developed natural sleep spray to help calm a busy mind.
- Have trouble falling asleep, or getting back to sleep if you’ve surfaced in the night? Sample a few meditation sequences designed specifically for the purpose of sending you into restful sleep. This is also an exceptionally helpful tactic if you’re feeling stressed in day to day life. Our favourites are the Mindfulness app, and Smiling Mind app for a beautiful range of meditations.
Not all these tips will work for you or your current life situation - we know as well as the next person that sometimes life is just way too full-on to get a good night’s rest under your belt, and it's easy to get worked up or feel guilty about that. There may be just one thing here that your body will connect with, and you won’t know unless you try.
If you’re already a bad sleeper, improving the quality of your rest won’t happen quickly, but it’s absolutely worth making a start somewhere. If you’re alternative is a sleep-deprived, unproductive, unfocused zombie, what have you got to lose?
Happy resting xx