Make Sleep a Priority
Rev. Dr. Kitty Boitnott, NBCT, RScP
Heart-centered Career Transition & Job Search Coach
Certified Life Strategies, Stress Management, Holistic Life, and Sleep Science Coach
Sleep is important. If you doubt it, try to go a whole day without any. You will feel the ill effects right away.
Too many people think that they can delay or defer sleep. The fact is, however, that you need to make sleep a top priority. Think about how much better you feel, and what you can do when you have had a good night's sleep.
The sad truth is that sleep becomes elusive for some of us at different stages of our lives. I first started experiencing night sweats in my late 30's. I would awake suddenly feeling like I was burning up with a fever and sweat along my hairline.
On top of feeling tired, I was also cranky and irritable. Until I figured out that I had a problem that needed to be addressed medically, I was pretty miserable.
Luckily, I got the help I needed. Now that I am older, however, and in a different stage of life, I sometimes experience disruptions in my sleep. I can go to sleep relatively quickly, but I might wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble getting back to sleep. Sometimes the problem is a pain in my back. Sometimes there doesn't seem to be a reason. I just wake up. Regardless of the reason for the interruption, it messes with my ability to get not only sufficient sleep but good quality sleep as well.
If you are suffering from a lack of sleep, you can try some possible remedies before seeking out medical advice. But if your sleep does not improve regardless of your efforts, you should talk to your doctor. There might be underlying medical or psychological problems that you need to get treated.
Here are some tips on how to learn to focus on your sleep, and how to get to bed at a reasonable hour:
1. Establish a bedtime routine
Children are not the only ones who need routines. So do adults. It is beneficial to create a nighttime ritual where you start getting ready for bed at least an hour before the lights go out. This ritual may include taking a bath (but not too hot as that will impede falling asleep). Get into your pajamas, have a light snack if needed, and read a book.
2. Set up a pleasant atmosphere in your bedroom.
You want to set up your bedroom so that it is inviting and cozy. You should enjoy retreating to it at the end of a busy day. Pay attention to the colors of your walls. Choose calming, soothing paint colors such as soft grays, lavender, or sage. Set up a lamp with a pale yellow or red light. Avoid lights that emit blue wavelengths. Decorate your walls in such a way that it adds to the beauty of the room. Don't have a work desk or exercise equipment in your bedroom. Reserve your bedroom for sleep and sex. Any other activity should be relegated to another room.
3. Recognize the difference between being busy and being productive.
Have you ever found yourself wasting time at the end of the day? You are so tired! But it feels like it is too early to go to bed. So you might surf the Internet or check your emails for the 15th time. You aren’t doing anything productive. You are just keeping yourself busy. Learn to recognize when you are doing this. Spend your time more wisely, and you don’t steal time from your bedtime routine.
4. Remind yourself of this saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
When you look around your house at the end of the day, you can always find something else to do before you head off to bed. There may be dirty dishes in the sink. You may see crumbs on the floor that need to be swept up. Or you may notice another email waiting for attention. This is never going to change. Realize that there will always be things that don’t get done in a day. You can start fresh tomorrow after a good night's sleep.
With that said, you may benefit from making sure you tidy up the kitchen before you go to bed. Coming into a dirty, clutter kitchen counter of sink can start your morning off on the wrong foot. Take the extra moment to put dishes in the dishwasher or dish rack and tidy up a bit before leaving the kitchen for the night. You will feel better the next day, guaranteed.
5. Avoid emotional and financial conversations before bedtime.
The evening is not a good time for having difficult conversations with friends or family. Avoid talking about your financial situation. There is nothing to do about your outstanding credit card balance tonight. Take care of it tomorrow. Awkward conversations, including emotionally charged texts and emails, need to be reserved for daytime. You will have more energy to deal with sticky issues. Don't allow those problematic issues to cause you extra stress right before it is time to fall asleep. That will only interfere with your ability to sleep well.
6. Remember that sleep is essential.
Sleep is as essential to your overall health as healthy eating and exercise. You cannot skimp on sleep and have good health. I urge you to commit to yourself that if you are chronically tired or suffering from fatigue all the time, look at the amount and consider the quality of the sleep you are getting. Commit yourself and your family that just as you make sure they eat healthy meals, you are going to ensure that that they get the sleep they need. And that goes for you as well.
You can't make the most of your life experiences if you are tired all the time. Sleep cannot be deferred for long without it catching up with you. Make more of an effort to get the sleep you need every night. You will be glad you did.
Until next time.
To learn more, stay tuned for the new eBook that I am writing. It is titled, Improve Your Sleep, Improve Your Health.
The newsletter message this week is part of what the eBook will offer. When the eBook is released, I will be selling it for $7 during the first release. It will then go up. I will let you know as soon as it is ready. See the cover below: