By: Katie Sandler
Katie Sandler is an Impact Coach and creator of the Impact Retreat and Impact Adventures.
The importance of sleep, culturally, has reached mainstream. Over the years, it’s become evident, scientifically and theoretically speaking, that our “sleeping” life is a huge indicator of the quality of our “waking” life. When Arianna Huffington completely burned out, she ended up writing her bestseller “The Sleep Revolution,” and becoming a major proponent of our quality of sleep.
The idea is this: you will be more productive if you decide not to burn the midnight oil.
When I tailor the Impact Retreat for my clients, one of the first questions I ask is, “how are you sleeping?” and “tell me what your night life is like.” It doesn’t take much more than that question to realize things aren’t “balanced” and when things aren’t balanced we can’t thrive.
When it comes to sleep hygiene, it’s not just your productivity that I’m concerned with. Our overall well-being is largely dependent on, not only the quantity of your sleep but primarily the quality of your sleep. So what does healthy sleep look like?
Healthy sleep looks like making sleep a priority in your daily routine. Decompress prior to bed. Set strict boundaries: No emails, no TV in bed, brushing teeth, washing face. Perhaps you adopt a reading or meditation ritual. Light a candle, cuddle your pet. Truly wind down and get that cell phone out of your bed!
What’s the risk of poor sleep?
It’s no surprise that many individuals have poor sleep hygiene in a culture obsessed with your productivity.
Statistically speaking, poor sleep is roughly defined as frequently interrupted sleep, sleepiness during the daytime, and/or less than five hours of restful sleep a night. Studies show that people who have poor sleep hygiene are less likely to succeed and are much more likely to suffer from various health issues such as heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, depression and inflammation (just to name a few). Whereas those with healthy sleep are experiencing better relationships, increased mood and healthier emotions, increased work productivity and concentration, increased immune functioning and overall higher quality of living.
How your day effects your night.
Poor sleep hygiene can also be an indicator that you need to change things in your “waking” life. For example, if you’re stressed and can’t get your ducks in a row, your sleep suffers. This can show up as feeling overly tired (yes, that’s a thing!) or your having thoughts ruminating through your mind like a merry-go-round at 90 mph, assessing all the things you need to do, all the things you didn’t do, the failures, the should have’s, etc.
To make a change, you need to build awareness and examine your day-to-day anxiety levels and mental health. This is important because it is almost impossible to meet your full potential and be present at work, with your family and friends unless you’re taking care of your needs. You must put yourself first in order to succeed – starting with your sleep hygiene. Like the airlines tell us, we must put the oxygen masks on ourselves first in order to help others.
As these habits improve, so will your sleep, and vice versa! But rest assured, this takes serious awareness and self-love.
Tips for proper sleep hygiene:
- Make sleep a priority, period. This is the ultimate goal. Get clear on setting an intention to improve your sleeping life just as you would your exercise regime or diet. If you don’t decide to make this a priority it’s never going to happen!
- Plan your sleep as part of your day: Your day either starts with sleep or ends with it. Therefore, decide how you want to perceive your day. If it starts with sleep, then that’s where your routine starts and will look like this:
- 6:00 pm: dinner (we want to give ourselves a few hours to digest prior to sleep.)
- 7:00 pm: spend time with your kids or pets, watch TV, talk with friends or meditate
- 9:00 pm: shower, read, get things ready for the following day
- 10pm: you should start feeling unwound
- 11pm: you should be in bed with all electronics put away
- Sleep is an active process, it doesn’t just happen to us, even though we feel that way. Take time to set up your bedroom to be a place of rest. Your mind will get to know the signs and environment that signal sleep. It’s a mind-body process.
- Think resilient – healthy sleep = resiliency for the mind and body. You can’t optimize self-care and resiliency without setting the intention. In order to bounce back from everyday life situations we need good sleep and low levels of overall stress. Being more resilient through our day-to-day lives enables productivity across the board.