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10 Common Sleep Mistakes to Avoid

10 Common Sleep Mistakes to Avoid


    Most of us have struggled at some point with sleep. Whether it’s not getting enough sleep or struggling to get up in the morning, it can be difficult to get the balance just right.

    However, sleep is essential if we want to be productive in life. It provides us with the energy we need to get stuff done!

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    Here are the 10 most common sleep mistakes people make and a few tips for avoiding them!

    1. The snooze button
    Don’t EVER hit the snooze button. It really is much more beneficial to just get up on your first alarm. Think about it – the snooze button gives you an extra 10 minutes or so sleep. In the grand scheme of your day this really won’t provide you with any more energy. In-fact it does the opposite. Research has shown that ‘interrupted sleep’ can cause us to feel more tired.

    2. Disorganized sleeping habits
    It’s much easier to get to sleep each night (and wake up feeling refreshed) if we have a regular routine. This means going to bed at roughly the same time each night and getting up at roughly the same time each morning. If you’re disorganized with your sleeping routine, you end up interrupting your natural sleeping rhythms, which can cause insomnia and fatigue.

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    3. Long naps
    Long naps can disrupt your sleeping rhythms so if you’re desperate for a nap then keep it under the 30 minute mark (and before 4pm). Short naps after lunch can help to restore energy levels (just make sure you don’t sleep in).

    4. Caffeine/stimulants
    Don’t drink any caffeinated drinks after mid-day. Caffeine stimulates your body for up to 12 hours after consumption so it’s important to restrict your intake later in the day. Be aware of supposed ‘herbal’ drinks such as green tea, which can have a high dose of caffeine. Always check the label.

    5. Stress & negative thinking
    Stress is a large reason why many people find it difficult to sleep. One of the worse things you can do is be stressed before bed. Stress produces chemicals that physically stop us from sleeping. Try and clear your mind before bed time and make an effort to think positive thoughts that aid sleep.

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    6. Too much light
    Our bodies depend on ‘sleep signals’ to fall asleep and one of those signals is darkness. Make sure your room is as dark as possible before trying to get to sleep. Even a thin stream of light coming in through your window can disrupt your pineal gland’s production of sleep hormones and therefore disturb your sleep rhythms, so make sure your blinds are closed!

    7. Sugar before bedtime
    Sugary snacks before bedtime are a really bad idea. The sugar can disrupt the chemicals in your body causing you to wake up during the night. Limit all late night sweet treats – if you’re hungry go for a protein based snack instead.

    8. Alcohol before bedtime
    Alcohol is a sedative and therefore people get fooled into thinking it will help them get a good nights sleep. The reality is that it may initially induce sleep, however it usually drastically impairs sleep during the second half of the night which leads to interrupted sleep patterns that will leave you feeling fatigued in the morning (not to mention the hangover!)

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    9. TV in the bedroom
    It can be easy to fall asleep on the couch in front of the TV. It’s important we don’t try and replicate this strategy in the bedroom though. The bedroom must only be associated with sleep (and sex). When you start to introduce mental stimulation such as a TV this can severely disrupt your sleep patterns.

    10. Worrying about sleep
    If you’ve had a few bad nights sleep, then the worst thing you can do is worry too much about it. When we place too much focus on sleeping this can cause anxiety and only make the problem worse. Try to go with the flow and let your body naturally get into a healthy sleep pattern.

    (Photo credit: Somebody Made a Big Mistake via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on December 2, 2018

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

    The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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    The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

    Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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    Review Your Past Flow

    Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

    Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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    Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

    Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

    Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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    Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

    Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

    We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

    Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

      Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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