Lack of sleep costs billions
Lack of sleep impairs your decision-making skills.
Yikes. So how much is the right amount? Most research says between seven and nine hours is ideal. But beware. Some research has stated that too much sleep – over ten hours regularly could also be detrimental.
A lack of sleep has been linked to poor health
However, as more people suffer from a lack of sleep, here’s a quick summary of the benefits of getting a good night sleep.
- More focus. When you are feeling awake your mind has an easier time staying clear and sharp and you will be able to concentrate on your project or goals.
- You will learn better, remember more and have sharper insights and ability to make decisions. how many important decisions are you responsible for making every day in your business or work? The NSF shows that decision-making skills can improve by as much as 4 per cent with a good night’s sleep.
- The 2007 Harvard study cited above showed that the consolidation of information that takes place during sleep is “essential for learning new information.”
- Not to mention that you will probably feel way better – more alive, alert, focused, healthier and happier.
Here are seven tips for getting a better night’s sleep
- Be consistent in your sleep routine.
Keep your routine as regular as possible. Even if a work event meant a late night or two in the week, try not to catch up at the weekend, as you are ‘fighting’ the body’s natural cycles. Set your alarm for a similar time and get up anyway. Try testing changing your waking up time, and keep a diary of how you feel – when you feel tired and when you are more awake. Work out, with this proof, what your optimal number of hours sleep is. You may discover, as I did, that when I got up earlier and exercised I was no more tired than when I slept later!
2. Avoid blue light one to two hours before bed.
Turn off your computer and gadgets at least one hour before bed and don’t use your gadgets to read at bedtime. Stop checking your social media accounts and facebook posts! Turn your phone off. Blue light emitted from most electronic gadgets destroys melatonin, one of the hormones that help you sleep. Read, relax or find a different way to unwind. You might find the art of conversation or reading a book quite liberating!
“Humans evolved on a planet without electric light over thousands and thousands of generations. The body is designed to be alert and awake during daytime hours and to sleep at night. Now we have a 24-7 society that isn’t in harmony with our biological design.” Professor George Brainard
3. Clear your stressors before bed
Yes, stress will negatively impact your sleep. If you have a lot going on in your mind, write it down. Create a list of things that need to be done. This will prevent you from waking up in the middle of the night thinking about all those things you didn’t do. If you have worries or concerns, take some time journalling them on a piece of paper. Most of our worries are inflated by our over-thinking minds and are usually never as bad as we imagine them to be. Learn some simple meditation techniques or conscious breathing practices to still your mind before bed-time.
4. Create rituals around your sleep.
The more you create rituals at the start and the end of your day, the more in control of your life you will feel. Rituals are like keystone habits for your day and ultimately your life. Create a few simple rituals before you go to bed, such as meditating or practising relaxation; writing down three things you did well or focusing on what you are grateful for. These help you take charge and set yourself up for a good night’s sleep. By focusing on what you did well and what you are grateful for will help you feel better. As your body creates chemicals that match your feelings, you are conditioning yourself to naturally create good chemicals more often. A natural antidote to stress.
Start your day with a set of healthy rituals. Decide in advance what time you will get up and what you will do upon waking. For example, it might be exercising, drinking a glass of water, eating a healthy breakfast, walking your dog, planning your day, or connecting with your goals. Morning rituals will improve the rest of you day. Guaranteed. You will be more productive, feel more accomplished and ultimately feel in a better mood. And of course, success fuels more success. When we feel successful we will sleep better.
5. Non-negotiable nights
Most people are way too busy. Have at least one night a week which is your designated self-care night. Make it a non-negotiable. Aim to make this one of your keystone habits in your life. Read a book, play cards, watch something funny, have a bath or simply do nothing. Go to bed early. As you have gone to bed early, wake up a few minutes earlier and give yourself the gift of time to do something just for you. Do something that you enjoy or makes you feel good. The more you stick with this consistently the more you will create this as a normal and natural habit that is an important part of your life.
Create non-negotiable nights where you do something nice for yourself
6. Have a shorter ‘feeding window.’
Eat less at night and cut down the number of hours for your ‘feeding window,’ You may have heard of intermittent fasting? Research has shown that the benefits of intermittent fasting are vast. One of which is improved sleep as well as more energy. Check out the fast diet.
‘When overweight individuals shortened their feeding window from greater than 14 hours to 10-11 hours, they lost fat, slept better, and improved their energy.’
7. Exercise regularly
Exercise without a doubt is probably the greatest activity you can participate in to help improve your night’s sleep. In one research study, people who exercise all advised they slept better. Not only does it physically make you tired but it creates endorphins which help you feel better. When you feel better you will be more productive and fulfilled and likely to sleep better. And of course, exercise is a positive health benefit!
Ultimately, you are the one who should determine exactly how much sleep you need and if you suffer from a lack of sleep. Decide today that getting a good night’s sleep consistently is of high importance to you living a fulfilled, productive and healthy life. Take some time creating good habits and rituals around sleep. Create a good sleep environment and persist with strategies and rigorous testing and measuring to ensure that your habits support your optimal night’s sleep.
Not only will your mood improve, but so will your health, productivity and life fulfilment. And that has to be a good thing!