Do you feel you are getting enough sleep? Have you ever noticed your mind active when you know you need to sleep? Do you feel your energy sapped in the middle of the day, barely able to stay awake?
Sleep is an incredibly important part of effective energy management. If you aren’t getting a good nights rest, your energy levels and concentration power are going to falter the next day. Your mood will probably suffer as minor inconveniences become huge frustrations.
What it takes to get a good night of sleep can differ from person to person, but here are just a few of the things I’ve found absolutely crucial, for myself, in getting a good night’s sleep:
Consistency is Key
If you want to get a good night’s sleep regularly, you need to be consistent in your approach. Go to bed and wake up at around the same time. Your job and social life may make it impossible to stick to a completely rigid schedule, but the better you can stick to a sleep schedule the more rested you will feel.
Subtle sleep cues can also transition your body into a more restful state. Having a routine for the last hour of your day can start slowing down your mind to prepare for sleep. Reading, journaling or meditation are all good activities that you can use to slow your body and prepare it to sleep.
If you want to be able to sleep easily during the night, you can’t take naps during the day. Occasional napping tends to throw off your sleep rhythm.
I have also noticed that anything above a fifteen or twenty minute nap tends to wake you up feeling more groggy and drained then before you rested. Even if you do wake feeling rested the shift in your internal clock will give you a feeling of jet-lag, making it difficult to sleep when you want to.
The desire to nap in the middle of the day can be caused by a lack of sleep, but it can also be caused by your digestive system. An inordinate amount of your energy is used on digestion, so eating a big lunch that is loaded with fat can make you feel drained and sleepy. Eating smaller meals throughout the day and cutting down on your fat/meat intake can help.
Avoid Interfering Chemicals
If you are having trouble sleeping, you should start by avoiding any chemicals such as caffeine, nicotine or alcohol. Sleeping pills can often create dependency and can deprive your body of certain phases of your sleep cycle, damaging long-term sleeping health for short-term gain.
You should always consult your doctor before making any changes in the medications you use. But many of the non-prescription stimulants people take every day can interfere with your sleep. If you are a caffeine junkie, your habit may be what is depriving you of the actual rest you need.
Don’t Fight Restlessness
Sleeping is one of those few things in life that you can’t achieve at by trying harder. If you get the occasional bout of insomnia, the worst thing you can do is try to fight it. It is easy to get nervous about how late it is and how difficult it is for you to sleep.
If you are feeling really restless, you may want to read quietly until you feel yourself unable to pay attention. Otherwise just be patient and lie in your bed. You can often feel like you have insomnia because you just haven’t given yourself a chance to go to sleep. Your body will go to sleep when it wants to, so worrying about it isn’t going to help.
If You Still Can’t Sleep…
If your mind is still restless and unwilling to sleep, you might as well utilize this time. Here are a couple things you can do when in this state:
Controlled Breathing – Whenever I’m having difficulty sleeping, I start by controlling my breathing. Try slowing your breathing and heart rate. Take deep long breaths and control the time it takes you to inhale and exhale. Not only does this give you something to occupy your mind other than how tired you are going to be in the morning, this activity should put you into a deep state of relaxation.
Visualization – Another activity I do when I’m struggling to sleep is I create a vivid visualization. Often one of the reasons you are having trouble to sleep is because your mind is occupied with a particular stress or problem. I usually visualize myself in a familiar place talking to an imagined character.
Pretending to receive some imagined advice about my problem from this character can calm me about my problem. I don’t think this technique will usually solve your problem, but it can often access your subconscious wisdom and give you the advice you need to hear to relax about the problem and get to sleep.
Sleep is an incredibly important part of your health and energy levels. It will influence your mood and have a huge impact on your performance. Get a good nights rest and utilize that extra energy and positivity to make a better tomorrow.