I’d like to start this week’s email out with a question for you.
If someone offered you a pill that could decrease your chances of cancer and heart disease by more than half, increase your memory and intelligence, decrease anxiety and stress and make you happier with no negative side effects – would you take it?
The answer is likely yes, no questions asked, sign me up!
This is a question asked in one of the best books I read in 2019, “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker. This magical pill in the question above, isn’t magical at all – all you need is 7-8 hours of sleep to reap those benefits. I won’t go into the science behind REM sleep, but I do encourage you to read up on it – it’s really fascinating stuff.
Many folks in modern cultures operate on less than seven hours of sleep. Some people even brag about how little sleep they get, as if it is some sort of badge of honor.
Ever since reading the messages in Walker’s book, sleep has become my top priority when it comes to my health, well-being, and even professional performance. Frankly, one of the best things I can do is wake up refreshed every morning ready to serve my employees, customers, suppliers, and family to the best of my abilities.
My mother Sally tells me to this day that I was always a great sleeper. That’s one thing I never grew out of. I suggest not contacting me after 9 pm if you want a quick response. I am very clear and intentional about my mindset that sleep is more important than any TV show, book, or event that I am attending. At 52, my body demands that I rest. Whatever age you are, your body is demanding rest too.
“The silent sleep loss epidemic is one of the greatest public health challenges we face in the 21st century.”
– Matthew Walker, author of “Why We Sleep”
We are not sleeping because we are playing multiple roles simultaneously while always trying to accomplish more.
Lately, I read and hear stories of parents that are up until 3:30 am burning the midnight oil on tasks they couldn’t complete during the day because their children are at home virtually learning.
And for those new to remote work – have you noticed that your working hours have actually increased since you’ve been away from the office? It’s difficult to log off when your “office” is a daunting eight feet commute away. I’m going to guess many of you have a hard time turning your task-focused mind off when it’s time to unwind for the day.
As much as we wish it wasn’t true, there is no such thing as “make up sleep” on the weekends – your brain and body never get that time back.
We get sick when we don’t get enough sleep. Quality sleep helps us heal and regenerate for the long fight ahead – we are slowly killing ourselves by denying our body the sleep it needs.
When searching for coping strategies for 2020, adequate sleep must be at the top of your list. While a full-nights sleep might sound simple in nature – I know it can seem like an impossible feat.
Try a few of these simple steps this week:
1) Go to bed at the same time every night. Get your mind and body in a familiar rhythm. This will take time to stick with – try your best.
2) Establish a relaxing nighttime routine. Find a brief activity that makes you feel relaxed and helps you unwind your senses. Whatever you choose, make that part of your sacred nighttime routine.
3) Get up at the same time every morning. Manage the amount of shut-eye you’re getting by setting your alarm for the same time every morning. While tempting, avoid that snooze button.
4) Stop saying “yes” if your sleep is suffering. You only have so many hours in the day – every task you agree to takes time away from the other items on your plate or the amount of sleep you allow yourself to have. If a task is going to encroach on your full-nights sleep, don’t take it on.
5) Listen to guided meditations. There are many free meditations out there that are designed to help you break through anxious thoughts, unwind your mind, and drift to sleep. If you’re new to the world of guided meditations, it can feel awkward for many uncomfortable at first. Commit to really opening yourself up to the process and I promise you won’t regret trying.
I’m including a link to a Spotify playlist with a handful of helpful guided meditations. Simply click the image to be directed to the playlist. If you don’t have Spotify, try out this bedtime meditation on YouTube. the other steps listed above will take time to make a habit, you can test this step out tonight.
Also, you can check out the upcoming book by Deepak Chopra – Total Meditation.
Now, I have two more questions for you this week that I hope you’ll answer:
1) How do you ensure you’re getting the sleep your body needs? If you struggle with doing so, what’s standing in your way?
2) What’s the craziest dream you’ve ever had? The possibilities are limitless in dream world, so this one should be good!
Until next time, friends. Sleep well!
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