The effects of sleep deprivation on our everyday performance can keep us from living up to our full potential and reaching our simplest goals. We are more obsessed with charging our phones and tablets than recharging ourselves. Even a modest half hour of sleep lost per night can affect the way our bodies function during the day.
As a society, we no longer look at sleep as a necessity – but rather as some kind of luxury best left for weekends and holidays. Unfortunately, our bodies didn’t get the memo. And although research quibbles about just the right amount of sleep for each individual, what we do know is most of us aren’t even coming close.
The repercussions of skimping on sleep are health risks like weakened immune systems, high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes. We eat more when we are tired and typically don’t plan healthy meals and snacks when we’re exhausted. More and more people complain about a lack of focus, being disorganized and inability to return to tasks after interruptions.
Preparing yourself for your day’s events begins the night before with a good night’s sleep. To start off on the right track, it’s important to enjoy an uninterrupted night of shut-eye.
Gear down gently from a mentally and physically exhausting day. Untether yourself from digital devices and leave them outside of the bedroom. Listen to soft music or read a calming book. Our minds continue to think about whatever we were doing before we fell asleep, so create a restful mood. After 20 minutes of unsuccessfully trying to fall asleep, get up and go into another room. The change of scenery will help you get in the mood for sleep.
Light can be a real problem. There is increasing evidence of ill effects related to light in our bedrooms when we are trying to sleep. Exposure to artificial light at night has been linked to increased risk of breast cancer and also causes sleep, gastrointestinal, mood and cardiovascular issues. Exposure to blue light emitted by electronics and energy-efficient light bulbs may be especially problematic. Blue light is a potent suppressor of melatonin, a hormone that helps control sleep cycles.
Try dimming the lights an hour before bedtime. Try using dim red lights for night lights. Red light shifts circadian rhythms and suppresses melatonin less than blue light. Go old school with an alarm clock or turn away a digital display. Make sure your blinds block enough sunlight or wear an eye mask. Providing full darkness for your eyes will aid you in falling asleep faster.
Other sleep tips include:
• Organize yourself the night before.
• Don’t vigorously exercise too close to bedtime.
• Save repetitive and soothing chores for the end of the day.
• Cut back on caffeine.
• Create a conducive and healthy sleep environment.
• Keep your bedroom cool.
• Turn off phones and stop using your computer several hours before bedtime.
• Have fresh air and get rid of scented products in your bedroom.
• Declutter and launder dust collectors that promote unhealthy air quality.
• Keep a notebook by your bed and record worries and task for the next day.
• Invest in blackout window treatment.
• Consider earplugs or a noise canceling devise like a simple fan.
• Keep pets out of the bedroom.
By following these suggestions, you will see an improvement in your sleep patterns and wake up feeling refreshed. Your workday will be more productive, your workouts more enjoyable.
Colette Robicheau is a Productivity Coach and Professional Organizer who helps declutter client’s minds and spaces to make room for more time, energy and money. Her company Organize Anything offers corporate, residential, and personal organizing services. Contact Colette at www.organizeanything.com