I was always someone who would shun the importance of sleep. I never had a problem nodding off but would always get up early in the morning to get on with the day; waking up restless and wanting to jump on my computer has been something that has bothered me for years now and held me back from getting a solid 7-9 hours of sleep a night. At first this was fine but after years of waking up early things finally caught up with me and I started getting syptoms of an Exhausted Mind:
ADHD like thinking (unable to focus on one thing)
Low Energy and Dull Moods
These were just a few of the things I would experience and this was in spite of an excellent diet and low stress environment I was living in. Things had to change and luckily they did when earlier this summer I read a great post from Robb Wolf, simply saying Sleep or you Might Loose Your Marbles which felt like what was happening to me……
I immediately realized I could no longer afford to be sleeping 5-6 hours and waking up in the middle of the night having trouble getting back to sleep. After Reading Lights Out the dangers of low sleep really hit some and I decided to make a few changes to my room at night:
- All Electronics Switched off completely and made sure there were no small lights on anywhere (the kind that power electronics)
- Added an extra layer to my blind to block out light
- Started wearing Ear Plugs or sleeping with a fan on (white noise)
- Dimmed all lights for an hour before bed and put LCD monitor on lowest brightness
- Waited until I’m Yawning/Sleepy before hitting the sack
- If I got up and felt restless I get up and have a walk around/glass of water and meditate until asleep again
This made a world of difference I seem to have broken my minds habit of wanting to awaken early in the morning and will regularly sleep from 10PM until 6-7AM averaging 8-10 hours of sleep a night. When I manage to clock 3-4 days of consistent sleep like this my outlook on life. If you have a problem waking up unable to get back to sleep it may simply be a case of retraining your mind that there is nothing important to do in the middle of the night, It may take a few nights of bullying yourself back to sleep but you will eventually break the habit…..
“If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying. It’s the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep.” ~ Dale Carnegie
As soon as I got consistent good sleep I noticed:
- Improved Body Composition (Fat Loss and Strength Gain)
- Stable Moods
- Happier Outlook on Life
- High Energy
- Improved Digestion
If you have trouble getting to bed I find giving yourself a quick 5-10 minute neck and shoulder massage can make a huge difference to relaxation and allow you to nod off in no time. As well as this practicing your breathing is a great way to calm the mind and body before bed, as is reading a book in low light…..
Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together. ~ Thomas Dekker
Don’t do 5-7
Don’t be someone who boasts about getting by on 5-7 hours of sleep and feeling fine (like I used to), its simply not the truth and it will catch up with you eventually, only once you start getting your 7-9 hours of restful sleep daily will you realize what your missing. Also check out Alex Shalman’s Excellent Sleep Guide….