Sleep is the best meditation. ~ Dalai Lama
There are some people who just seem to have it all figured out. They manage their families, careers and responsibilities with graceful ease, and clean shirts. Have you ever wondered how these ‘types’ manage to juggle so effortlessly, while your balls are seemingly crashing down around you?
These types of people always get the promotion, win the race, don’t ever seem stressed, and eyes just follow them.
What’s their secret? How are they keeping it all together?
I know, and I’m going to tell you.
It’s about getting the proper sleep.
People who get enough sleep are successful, focused and happy.Advertising
We need sleep to recharge our brains and bodies. When we are tired, we can aimlessly jump from task to task without any real clarity. We end up treading a tiring circle of never-ending tasks. We all want to be the best version of ourselves, whether it be a good mother, top executive or an amazing athlete.
In our busy society, sleep has become somewhat of a luxury. If you own your own business or have kids, you might relate to the phrase: “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”
Guess what? You couldn’t be further from the truth. You are forgoing the one thing that can help you achieve your success.
Bad sleep habits cause our bodies to become worn. Like an engine without an oil change, we start to break down.
- We become irritable and moody, and if sleep deprivation continues we can experience hallucinations and anxiety.
- We become emotionally flattened and our relationships suffer.
- We lose our ability to remember and suffer many cognitive delays.
- We can even fall prey to substance abuse.
- What’s even worse is that we can fall into micro-sleeps (5-10 seconds) that cause lapses in attention, which could lead us to nod off while doing an activity like driving. Not getting enough sleep is downright dangerous.
So ask yourself this: are you starting to resemble a zombie from World War Z? That’s not going to bring you success or happiness. Let’s get you back to being human, okay?
1. Don’t eat right before bed
Have your final meal about 3 hours before bedtime. Eating too close to bed will leave your digestive system working very hard and might cause an upset stomach throughout the night.
2. Avoid caffeine and alcohol
Caffeine is a stimulant and it keeps the body alert and energized. Alcohol may initially calm you or make you feel drowsy, but it actually increases the amount of times you will wake up during the night.Advertising
3. Reserve your bed for sleeping, that’s it.
If you read, watch TV or do work in bed, it will be hard to wind down. You want to associate your bed with sleep, and sleep only (well, maybe intimacy too, but we won’t get into that now).
4. Shut out the lights
Bright lights actually repress melatonin, which is responsible for regulating our sleep cycles. It is also recommended to avoid reading from back-lit devices late at night. The darker the room, the better. Try using heavy curtains or a sleep mask.
5. Don’t sleep too much
When it comes to sleep, there is too much of a good thing. Oversleeping can lead to heart disease, diabetes and depression. The average adult will need 8 hours sleep. This can vary from person to person, but use this as a guideline.
What You Should do:
The number one cause of being unable to sleep is stress. We stress about work, relationships or health. Meditation will open a whole new world. You need to turn off your mind, especially if you are struggling with sleep.
Our mind does a lot of thinking, and we usually aren’t even aware that it’s happening. But these thoughts are powerful, and sometimes thoughts can spiral into stressful, negative thoughts and control us. Meditation will give you powerful tools to be the watcher of your mind. By watching your mind, you can prevent urges and negative thoughts, and you can lead a stress-less life.
In addition to meditation, practice relaxation techniques such as:
- Deep breathing. Inhale into the bottom of your stomach and exhale deeply.
- Progressive muscle relaxation. Stay out of your head and focus on the sensations in your body.
- Imagery and visualization of peaceful, restful place.
- Use a sound machine. The sounds of the ocean can be very relaxing and take you miles away from your troubles.
2. The power of organization and positive thinking.
Before bed, make a list of all the amazing things about your day. Expressing gratitude is known to improve sleep. Also, make a list about what you plan to accomplish tomorrow. Staying focused will guarantee success.Advertising
You need to expend energy. Exercise will make you feel better throughout your day and is wonderful for aiding in sleep. I recommend yoga in particular. Exercise early in the morning or late afternoon to avoid stimulating the body before bed.
4. Stay hydrated.
Staying hydrated is important all the time: during waking hours and sleep time.
5. Drink relaxation tea.
I love having a calming decaffeinated Sleepytime tea before bed. The aroma itself puts me into a relaxed state.
6. Get up early.
This is the secret ingredient of success. If you want to accomplish big things and stay organized, get up early. I try to get up every day at 5:30; I write for an hour, meditate for half an hour, walk my dogs, make breakfast and then get ready for work. I can’t stress enough the benefits of this habit.
7. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.
Yes, that’s right, even on the weekends. Do you ever have trouble falling asleep on Sunday nights? Chances are you’ve fallen out of your sleep routine. Do your best to maintain your sleep schedule.
8. Keep a cool room.
Research suggests that we sleep the best if our room is kept at 65°F.
9. Remember that life goes on.
Why not postpone your worrying until tomorrow? And then tomorrow, postpone it to the next day. If you can solve the problem, then solve it; if you can’t solve it, then what is the point of worrying about it?Advertising
10. Laugh a lot.
Laughter and humor will push stress out and make you more likable. Stop taking life so seriously.
11. Tape your goals to your night side table.
That way the first thing you will see is your list. If you want to get a promotion, write it down in big letters and read it every morning. It’s the old Secret mentality: what you put out into the universe will come back to you. I’ve tried it, and it’s worked for me.
The benefits of sleep go way beyond banishing your dark circles. Sleep habits are an essential part of your lifestyle as a whole. Your best self is there–it might just be hidden underneath a sleep-deprived fog.
Why not start refining your habits tonight?
I’d love to hear about your secrets to successful sleep, so leave a comment below!
Last Updated on May 20, 2019
How to Prevent Inaction from Leading to Regret
When you think of this construct, where do you see your time being spent?
As William Shakespeare famously wrote “I wasted time, and now doth time waste me…”
Have you used your time wisely? Are you where you want to be?
Or do you have unfinished goals to attain… places you want to be, things you still need to do?
The hard truth is, that time once passed cannot be replaced–which is why it is common to hear people say that one should not squander time doing nothing, or delay certain decisions for later. More often than not, the biggest blocker from reaching our goals is often inaction – which is essentially doing nothing, rather than doing something.
There are many reasons why we may not do something. Most often it boils down to adequate time. We may feel we don’t have enough time, or that it’s never quite the right time to pursue our goals.
Maybe next month, or maybe next year…
And, before you know it, the time has passed and you’re still no where near achieving those goals you dream about. This inaction often leads to strong regret once we look at the situation through hindsight. So, take some time now to reflect on any goal(s) you may have in mind, or hidden at the back of your mind; and, think about how you can truly start working on them now, and not later.
So, how do you start?
Figure Out Your Purpose (Your Main Goal)
The first important step is to figure out your purpose, or your main goal.
What is it that you’re after in life? And, are there any barriers preventing you from reaching your goal? These are good questions to ask when it comes to figuring out how (and for what purpose) you are spending your time.
Your purpose will guide you, and it will ensure your time spent is within the bounds of what you actually want to accomplish.
A good amount of research has been done on how we as humans develop and embrace long-term and highly meaningful goals in our lives. So much so, that having a purpose has connections to reduced stroke, and heart attack. It turns out, our desire to accomplish goals actually has an evolutionary connection–especially goals with a greater purpose to them. This is because a greater purpose often helps both the individual, and our species as a whole, survive.
Knowing why it is you’re doing something is important; and, when you do, it will be easier to budget your time and effort into pursuing after those milestones or tasks that will lead to the accomplishment of your main goal.
Assess Your Current Time Spent
Next comes the actual time usage. Once you know what your main goal is, you’ll want to make the most of the time you have now. It’s good to know how you’re currently spending your time, so that you can start making improvements and easily assess what can stay and what can go in your day to day routine.
For just one day, ideally on a day when you’d like to be more productive, I encourage you to record a time journal, down to the quarter hour if you can manage. You may be quite surprised at how little things—such as checking social media, answering emails that could wait, or idling at the water cooler or office pantry —can add up to a lot of wasted time.
To get you started, I recommend you check out this quick self assessment to assess your current productivity: Want To Know How Much You’re Getting Done In A Day?
Tricks to Tackle Distractions
Once you’ve assessed how you’re currently spending your time, I hope you won’t be in for too big of a shock when you see just how big of an impact distractions and time wasters are in your life.
Every time your mind wanders from your work, it takes an average of 25 minutes and 26 seconds to get into focus again. That’s almost half an hour of precious time every time you entertain a distraction!
Which is why it’s important to learn how to focus, and tackle distractions effectively. Here’s how to do it:
1. Set Time Aside for Focusing
One way to stay focused is to set focused sessions for yourself. During a focused session, you should let people know that you won’t be responding unless it’s a real emergency.
Set your messaging apps and shared calendars as “busy” to reduce interruptions. Think of these sessions as one on one time with yourself so that you can truly focus on what’s important, without external distractions coming your way.
2. Beware of Emails
Emails may sound harmless, but they can come into our inbox continuously throughout the day, and it’s tempting to respond to them as we receive them. Especially if you’re one to check your notifications frequently.
Instead of checking them every time a new notification sounds, set a specific time to deal with your emails at one go. This will no doubt increase your productivity as you’re dealing with emails one after the other, rather than interrupting your focus on another project each time an email comes in.
Besides switching off your email notifications so as not to get distracted, you could also install a Chrome extension called Block Site that helps to stop Gmail notifications coming through at specific times, making it easier for you to manage these subtle daily distractions.
3. Let Technology Help
As much as we are getting increasingly distracted because of technology, we can’t deny it’s many advantages. So instead of feeling controlled by technology, why not make use of disabling options that the devices offer?
Turn off email alerts, app notifications, or set your phone to go straight to voicemail and even create auto-responses to incoming text messages. There are also apps like Forrest that help to increase your productivity by rewarding you each time you focus well, which encourages you to ignore your phone.
4. Schedule Time to Get Distracted
Just as important as scheduling focus time, is scheduling break times. Balance is always key, so when you start scheduling focused sessions, you should also intentionally pen down some break time slots for your mind to relax.
This is because the brain isn’t created to sustain long periods of focus and concentration. The average attention span for an adult is between 15 and 40 minutes. After this time, your likelihood of distractions get stronger and you’ll become less motivated.
So while taking a mental break might seem unproductive, in the long run it makes your brain work more efficiently, and you’ll end up getting more work done overall.
Time is in Your Hands
At the end of the day, we all have a certain amount of time to go all out to pursue our heart’s desires. Whatever your goals are, the time you have now, is in your hands to make them come true.
You simply need to start somewhere, instead of allowing inaction waste your time away, leaving you with regret later on. With a main goal or purpose in mind, you can be on the right track to attaining your desired outcomes.
Being aware of how you spend your time and learning how to tackle common distractions can help boost you forward in completing what’s necessary to reach your most desired goals.
So what are you waiting for?
Featured photo credit: Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash via unsplash.com