Successfully following through on most of our goals relies on numerous aspects, but sleep is undoubtedly close to being the number one factor. Who can get a good workout if their whole body feels sluggish? Our muscles recover and grow stronger with sleep, without rest we might not see the training results we want. More than that though, if we’re not getting sleep it impacts our mood in a tremendous way. You might stay up late working, but the sleepless nights are adding up and affecting your creativity. If any of this sounds familiar it might be for one of these common reasons that you’re finding yourself staying up later and later:
- Your Body is Physically Stressed
- You’re Worried About Tomorrow
- You’re Distracted By Twitter, Facebook, etc.
- It’s When You Feel Most Inspired
- You Have Work To Finish And a Deadline
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Getting a good night's sleep is the fundamental factor for achieving what you want in life. So, if you think you’re in desperate need of resetting the clock and getting some Zzz’s, then we have some tips for you.
Photo via upsplash.com
Tip #1 Stop Worrying: Write Out Your To-Do List The Night Before
Make out a to-do-list the night before. Just like journaling right before bed, writing out all of the things you want to accomplish the night before will help get a better night's sleep. If we don’t we might find ourselves making lists in our sleep. When we write out our lists it helps relieve the pressure we feel ‘to remember’ what we have to do the next day.
The so-called “Zeigarnik effect” – that we remember things we need to do better than things we’ve done – stemmed from observing that waiters could only recall diners’ orders before they had been served. After the dishes had been delivered, their memories simply erased who’d had the steak and who’d had the soup. The deed was done and the brain was ready to let go. More recently, a study by professors Baumeister and Masicampo from Wake Forest University showed that, while tasks we haven’t done distract us, just making a plan to get them done can free us from this anxiety.” -Theguardian.com
Tip #2 Don’t Feed Your Anxiety: Get Your Chores Done Earlier
Try starting your to-do list sooner rather than later. I know that’s easier said than done. But if you get that blog post up before noon, that means it’s not dragging along in the back of your mind the whole day making you feel guilty. Go over your child's homework in the early afternoon and not after lunch. Procrastinating your to-do list just means you’ll find yourself stressed out and preoccupied late into the evening. Then you’ll spend a couple hours unwinding, you’ll get your second wind, and before you know it, it’s 3 AM. You’re setting yourself up for a disadvantage tomorrow.
Tip #3 Put Sleep First: “I Feel Most Creative At Night.”
If you’re a creative night owl, you really are resetting the clock with this next tip. Invest in some black-out curtains. Soundproof your bedroom door, put down a nice thick rug, and relinquish any anxiety you have about waking up too late.
If you’re up until 4AM or 5AM in the morning, you’re probably going to be woken up with the sunrise, and then again as your housemates start moving around. If you’d like to keep an evening workflow just make sure to prioritize sleep as well, even if it’s during the day.
Tip #4 Creative Power Hour
If you’re sparking off ideas right before bed and actually need to be awake during the day, grab a notebook. No one really remembers their ideas after a night's sleep. Climb into bed, dim the lights, and start writing. You can even start off writing: I don’t know what to write. Just write every little thing that pops into your mind and don’t stop until the timer goes off. This technique is called stream of consciousness writing. You can wake up the next morning, reread what you wrote and work out a list of things you’d like to do.
Tip #5 Say No To Social Media Before Bed
When you turn off the bedroom lights, that includes your phone screen. This last one is really all about willpower. Make it easier on yourself and don’t sleep with your phone in bed. Sit your phone on the dresser and turn it on silent. In your phone settings you can usually find an option to let certain contacts ring through while on silent mode, so you can get those important calls.
So for one week, I decided to ditch my smartphone before bed. In that week, I found I slept better, my attention span increased, and I woke up readier than ever to take on the morning.” -Christine Kopaczewski for businessinsider.com
Tip #6 Sleep and Anxiety
Signs of GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder), include:
- Feelings of restlessness or being unable to calm down.
- Easily fatigued.
- Brain fog, or having difficulty concentrating and easily losing your train of thought.
- Tight or tense muscles.
- Unable to control or distract yourself from worrying.
- Having sleep problems such as insomnia, restlessness, or feeling unsatisfied from sleep.
Source: The American Institute of Stress
If you’re suffering from GAD, The American Institute of Stress, suggest you can try resetting the clock on the weekends by not forcing yourself to go to sleep. If you’re not sleepy stay out of your room until you are naturally tired.
Other tips include, talking with someone about what’s going on in your life. Keeping your room at a cool temperature and making it as dark as possible will help you get to sleep and stay asleep. If you’re feeling physically stressed try taking a warm bath or shower. A great way to physically force your mind to be more present and unclench your jaw.
This is partly because a warm bath can help us relax, but also because our body temperature tends to drop after a warm bath, which can induce better sleep.” - medicalnewstoday.com
Not getting a good night's rest can throw your plans out the window. How many times have you said you’re going to wake up at 8AM and do yoga, 7:30 rolls around and you feel just miserable getting up. Try going to bed within the same time window every night. Start with a window from 1AM -2AM, the next week move it up an hour from 12AM - 1AM and From 11PM - 12PM the following week. You’ll reset the clock in no time.