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Good Sleep Habits You Need (And Bad Ones to Avoid) To Be Energetic

Good Sleep Habits You Need (And Bad Ones to Avoid) To Be Energetic

Sleep is the most essential component to wellness and healthy living. There are many people who think it’s perfectly fine to function on six or seven hours of sleep. Others seem to believe that an ‘all-night-er’ like we tried to pull in college won’t affect us.

Though we’re all busy people, staying up at all hours to meet those deadlines will impact your life.

In this article, we’ll look into how bad sleep habits affect your mental and physical health and the good sleep habits you should take up to be energetic every day.

How terrible can lacking of sleep be?

If you don’t have healthy sleep habits, your professional life and even personal life will be at risk. Even the most subtle signs of exhaustion can set off major signals to others.

You might be going about your day believing everything is fine after skipping some hours of sleep, but later, you’re overwhelmed and aren’t totally with the program. You might wind up saying things like: “Oh gosh, I’m so off today, don’t mind me.”

Yes, people around you will notice if you’re a bit off or can’t keep up at work. If you feel the need to take a nap because you’re tired, that means you didn’t sleep well the night before. Taking naps is very healthy as they increase productivity and prevent you from hitting that ‘ugh, I need something sugary!’ slump.

This is an example of a bad sleep habit: you stayed up too late, so the next day, you try to catch up a bit to get through so you nap for ten minutes, then twenty minutes, and then an hour!

The National Sleep Foundations says that if you nap due to tiredness, you’ll end up entering a cycle of sleep that will mess with your sleep/wake schedule. Scientists call this your circadian rhythm, which is a 24-hour internal clock and cycles between sleeplessness and alertness at regular intervals. The clock exists within the brain and determines how much or little energy you’ll have at various periods of your day.

If your alertness is always compromised, you’re setting yourself up for frequent disasters.

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There are several subtle and detrimental consequences you might face if you haven’t been getting enough shut-eye time. Studies now say it’s critical to get eight or nine hours of sleep. Anything less than that and you’ll suffer work-performance failures or other mishaps. You don’t want to take sleep disturbances and issues lightly.

Often times, we may think we’re getting enough sleep and don’t know why we’re fatigued and drained. It’s easy to blame it on diet or not enough exercise or work is taking its toll on you. And yes, those things do factor into the mystery of your lacking energy.

These days, in the digital age, it’s even more difficult to establish a healthy sleep routine when we’re constantly stimulated by external sources–the news, social media, and oh wait, what is happening in this crazy world?

We live in a time when cell-phone reliance is undeniable and also affecting our mental, emotional and physical well-being. I’ve heard people complain about their email demanding their attention at all hours of the night.

We’re taking in and internalizing more than we realize and we need to give it all a rest. This is why a nine-hour night of sleep is imperative.

4 Bad sleep habits to avoid

Our brains need sleep to process and unwind. If you’re at a loss about how to structure a healthy sleep life, these are some habits to avoid.

1. Putting your phone next to your head while sleeping.

Do you tuck your phone under your pillow when you sleep? Do you rely on your phone and use it as an alarm to wake you up in the morning?

It’s not a good idea to use your cell-phone to start your day. You’ll check your email or other social networks the second your alarm buzzes and become prone to a bad mood.

A clear head will make falling asleep fast and easy with no electronics nearby. And, you’ll wake up feeling restored.

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2. Technology devices in the bedroom.

Technology devices have lights on them, very bright lights. A lit up room will cause sleep disturbances or make you want to do work or other things.

Pitch blackness will allow the brain to process melatonin, a chemical neurotransmitter that makes you tired and ready for sleep. The blue light on your phone’s screen, for example, is enough to confuse the brain into thinking it’s daylight.

Electronics such as electrical toothbrushes, televisions, computers, a diffuser and others should be in a position where they can’t be seen.

3. A messy environment.

Clutter, piles of laundry, piles of papers, and anything you can pile up as high as a mountain should be kept to a minimum.

A messy environment increases bad tension on the home-front and leaves you with this feeling of ‘there is so much to do.’ Downsizing on your possessions benefits stress levels, promotes calmness and provides a sense of peace.

As we get older, it’s easy to hoard everything into a space. Our closets, garages, or basements become a dumpster site. But living in this way, over time, will derail your mental and physical health. You might not recognize how overwhelmed you’re feeling about having so much stuff.

Your heart will feel the stress and burden, too, over time. I’m not saying you need to become a minimalist, not at all.

Just take some time to see where you can lighten the load in your home.

4. Doing work close to bed time.

If you’re your own boss or you work a job where anybody can call you any hour of the day and demand something, it’s OK to say no.

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It’s tough if you work in a field that requires being on-call. You have the right to draw healthy boundaries and schedule time for yourself to relax in the few hours before bed.

An evening routine after dinner may be the answer to putting an end to chaos. If you don’t give yourself these hours of relaxation, you’ll feel off balance.

4 Good sleep habits to include

After knowing all the bad sleeping habits you should ditch, here’re good sleep habits to include:

1. Invest in a diffuser.

A diffuser has an incredible amount of sleep benefits. Essential oils, for years, have been used to cure insomnia, sleep disturbances, and to rewire the brain while easing anxiety in the mind.

Essential oils such as lavender or valerian essential oils are the best sleep aids. Lavender calms the nervous system by alleviating bothersome anxiety-driven thoughts, lowers blood pressure and heart rate. These oils, like chamomile essential oil, naturally starts the body and mind’s process in preparation for sleep.

Consult your doctor first even before using essential oils and make sure they are right for you.

2. Lay out your clothes and workout clothes the night before.

A system is the best way to overcome stress and anxiety, which interfere with sleep.

Mornings should be reserved for the opportunity to squeeze in a healthy breakfast, not rush to pick an outfit and scramble. If this has been you lately, try establishing a routine to make going to bed and waking up less turbulent.

A great day really does start the night before. These are mindful practices that can alter the course of your day and life in the long-term.

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3. Use a different type of alarm.

Instead of waking up to a buzzing, ringing, obnoxious alarm in the morning, try implementing affirmations or nature sounds. There are alarm clocks you can set so you can rise to a calming voice telling you positive things.

Apps on your phone can do this. A shocking alarm can trigger anger and make waking up dreadful, especially if the sound makes you shout curse words the moment you open your eyes.

Mornings should be for easing into your work day, not doing a jack-rabbit start.

4. Do a meditative activity the our before bed.

An hour before bed, do something that eliminates thoughts from your mind. Doing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen is a good way to clear your head and stress from a day.

Try doing an evening walk outside and listen to your breathing, footsteps, and nature around you. Doing something relaxing, even for a short time, will calm the mind.

Summing it up

You can use these lifestyle practices as strategies to develop a healthier sleep life. You will notice a difference. Over time, you’ll feel more energized and will start your day on the right foot.

The early morning and early dusk are critical for your brain to regulate a healthy sleep/wake cycle so you can succeed in your daily life.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

More by this author

Tessa Koller

Author, Motivational Public Speaker and Artist

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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