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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 September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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