How to reach your sleep goals
I often hear people tell me that they can function just fine on 5 hours of sleep per night. Most people don’t even have sleep goals of any kind. They just wing it.
Truth is, if they got more, their daily performance would be significantly higher. They’d get more done, have more energy, feel more connected to their work and those around them.
You get the picture.
So why do people think that they deserve some medal of honour for getting crappy sleep? I’m not sure, but what I DO know is that it’s a dangerous game to play.
Some nifty stats on sleep
Loss of sleep can result in hormonal imbalance and illness. Seven to eight hours of sleep for adults is essential for proper brain function and high performance. Yet still 30% of adults are still sleep deprived, which affects memory, mood, stress, and learning capabilities. It has been linked to inflammation, obesity, high blood pressure and even diabetes.
Still think sleep isn’t a big issue? Let’s keep going.
A study published in the American Journal of Health Promotions, indicated that sleep directly influences productivity.
The study suggested that employees getting fewer than 5 hours of sleep per night were 1.9 times as less productive than their peers who slept for 8 hours a night. Those who reported feeling tired during the day were 4.4 times as less productive than their well-rested counterparts.
Get more sleep to increase productivity, output and energy
The first and most obvious step is to set your sleep goals. Make it a commitment! The more consistent you are with keeping to your sleep goals, the faster the high performance results will start rolling in.
So what can you do to balance your sleeping habits? Try these 5 tips:
1. Prepare for your next day
Stress is the biggest cause of sleep deprivation, so the more prepared you are for the next day, the better you’ll sleep. What I personally find useful is to fill out my daily agenda throughout the day, crossing off my completed tasks as I go along. I then do a daily review so I know what I was able to accomplish, what I didn’t get to, and the priorities for the next day.
There’s lots you can do to prepare the night before so you hit the ground running. Make your lunch. Prepare your clothing and get any other little time consuming tasks out of the way so you can start your day fresh.
2. Simple Stretching
Commuting, meetings and long days at the office are often paired with back pains and migraines. A good way to rid your self of these pains is to do light stretching throughout the day, and especially right before you knock off to sleep. It quiets your mind and releases tension, preparing your body for rest.
Nikos Apostolopoulos a director of the Mirco- Stretching Clinic in Vancouver was quoted saying, “When you prepare your body for sleep through [gentle] stretching, you’re helping your body recover and regenerate.”
3. Create a sleeping Haven
Turn your bedroom into a sleeping oasis. Make it a personal goal to declutter your space. Get rid of any distracting electronics. Blue light emitted by electronics can slow down the production melatonin (the sleep hormone) in your body.
Your brain automatically associates any source of light with wake-fullness. This can be triggered by cellphones, televisions, computers, and even alarm clocks. During my bedtime routine, I like to keep my phone far away from my bed.
A clean bedroom can subconsciously translate into a clean mind. Allow your sleeping environment to be cool, dark and quiet.
4. Gratitude Journal
We spend many hours of our day occupied with daily responsibilities, which come paired with unpredictable stressors. Before I sleep I have made it goal to contribute 10 minutes to write a few things I am grateful for.
Going to sleep with positive thoughts is just the boost I need to kick-start the next day with optimism and positivity. Gratitude provides a hopeful frame of mind, and proves that no matter the circumstance, the world around you is still filled with joy. As a plus, tracking your gratitude can be a wonderful way to watch your joys in life grow.
5. Read a book
Reading before bed can help lower stress and promote a good night’s sleep. Dr. David Lewis, a cognitive neuropsychologist, found that, “Reading worked best, reducing stress levels by 68 per cent”.
The study was done at the University of Sussex, where listening to music decreased stress by 61%, a cup of tea lowered the percentage to 54%, while walking only reduced stress levels by 42%.
I like to read something that motivates or inspires me before going to bed because this is the time that our minds are most receptive to influences. It’s a good practice to get into!
By implementing a few of these tools into your nightly routine you can challenge the sleep crisis and increase your productivity. If you want to know more about how we help our clients get more sleep, become productivity ninjas and high performing powerhouses, please click here.