We’ve all done it…”oh I’ll just check my email one more time” or “I’ll just hop on Facebook for 10 minutes”. Yeah, right.
Sleep is not a luxury!
Research shows that enough sleep and good quality sleep (meaning you’re not tossing and turning or waking up off and on all night) is vital for every aspect of our health and wellness. Sleep isn’t a luxury as we have sometimes treated it. And it doesn't mean you are a lazy person if you need nine hours to function at your highest potential.
When you work from home there are so many distractions that keep us from honoring our bedrooms as a place of rest and relaxation as well as remembering the importance of sleep.
Similarly, studies show that planning ahead leads to more success.
The following five bedtime habits are a great combination of respecting the importance of sleep and planning ahead for optimal success. Try them out for a week or two and you will definitely notice an improvement!
1. Review your 'to do' list
Rather than saving it till the morning, take a quick look at your to do list and jot down any additional notes that come to mind. That way, the feeling that you’ve forgotten something won’t keep you awake.
Write down 2-3 tasks you are going to accomplish the next day. You can do this for both business and personal items if you'd like. These are the top tasks to focus on first before anything else. If you get those done, you can move onto other items and be ahead of the game.
2. Do a brain dump
OPTION: You can choose to do this on a weekly rather daily basis.
Keep a separate list for personal and business items and dump everything out of your brain that is bouncing around potentially keeping you awake. Take 2 blank sheets of paper and write “personal brain dump” and “business brain dump” at the top of each page along with the date. Don’t hold back…nothing is too trivial.
This isn’t your new to do list, so don’t worry! You’ll be amazed how much easier it is to sleep through the simple act of writing all of this stuff down and getting it out of your head.
Bonus tip for the next morning: use these lists to sort through your must do and should do items and get rid of as many should do tasks as you can. Then schedule your must do items according to importance and your available time.
3. Gratitude moment
Spend a short amount of time, whatever feels right to you, and write out the best thing that happened to you that day, the three things you are grateful for, or the person you are most grateful to have in your life right now. If you’d prefer, just sit quietly and think about all the things you are grateful for from that day. Ending the day on a positive note will send you off to dreamland in a peaceful, joyful state of mind.
4. Decide on a shutdown time and stick to it
You should shut down all electronics (yes, including the television!) 30-60 minutes before bedtime. There isn’t much that can’t wait until morning. When you look at these items with their bright lights, your brain actually registers that light to mean it’s daytime. That messes up your rhythms! So when you do something non-technology related for at least 20-30 minutes before going to sleep your body will relax and know it’s nighttime. You’ll be setting yourself up for a wonderful night of sleep!
Also, shutting down all electronics before bedtime gives your mind the chance to slow down and relax as well. If during this time you notice your mind still “spinning and spinning” or obsessing over something that is bothering you, go back to steps 1 and 2 and see if that helps. Another option for larger problems is to write in a journal for 10 minutes or so. Often the simple act of writing it out can release it and allow you to get some much needed rest. We all think better and make better decisions when we are well rested.
5. Centre yourself
Do something relaxing before bed such as meditate, pray, simple quiet breathing, read a book (avoid any books that make you think a lot!), or better yet … use the time to connect with your significant other. Choose something that is relaxing and peaceful to you in order to wind down and end the day on a calm note. This will help send you off into dreamland!