The Power of Sleep
If I told you there was a pill available that, if you took it every day, would improve your mood, help you lose weight, increase your productivity, make you more creative, improve your memory, boost your immune system, decrease your risk of heart disease, strokes, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other chronic diseases, would you take it?
Now what if I told it was free and readily available to you?
Sleep does all of those and yet so many of us neglect it. It’s not that we don’t know the difference a good night’s sleep makes to our lives.
I’m sure you can rattle off a handful of benefits you’ve noticed when you’ve had a really good night’s sleep. Maybe you were happier, calmer, more patient, more productive, more efficient. Maybe you came up with a really creative solution to a problem, or maybe you finally got over that cold or flu you had been fighting for what seemed like forever.
We all have felt the difference after a good night’s sleep and a bad night’s sleep. Yet, we still neglect it.
As a society, it has become normal, acceptable, and almost a source of pride to skimp on sleep. We do it so we can spend more time at the office, or go out with friends, or even just to watch TV for a couple hours. Problem is, it’s costing us a lot, personally and as a society. We’re unhappy, overweight, less productive and sicker. We’re not able to live our lives to the fullest. We don’t contribute as much as we’d like to our family, friends, and community. We’re not living up to our full potential.
So here’s the deal, if a good night’s sleep offers such incredible benefits, and lack of sleep is costing you so much, isn’t it worth trying to get a better night’s sleep more often?
Here are a few tips to help you do that:
- Open a window. Allowing fresh air to circulate can help you sleep better
- Turn off the TV and computer. About an hour before bed, turn off anything with a backlit screen to help you wind down. TVs, computers and even smartphones can be overly stimulating to the brain and prevent you from sleeping well.
- Regulate your sleep environment. Use earplugs to block out noise, dark shades to block out light, a fan or a humidifier to regulate the air quality and temperature. Find ways to make your sleep environment more comfortable and conducive to sleep.
- Exercise regularly. Even walking for 30 min a day can make a big difference.
- Eat dinner earlier. Going to bed on a full stomach disrupts your sleep pattern. It also prevents your body from entering a truly restorative sleep phase because it’s busy digesting your last meal.
- Create a daily ritual. Setting up a nightly ritual or routine before going to bed (e.g. taking a bath, doing some light reading) will help teach your mind and body to relax before going to bed.
Here’s what I’d like you to do next. Pick 1-3 of the tips and test them out. See how they work for you.