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11 Sleep Habits of Successful People

11 Sleep Habits of Successful People

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.

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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?

Sleep No-Nos:

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.

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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:

1. Meditate.

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.

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3.  Exercise.

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?

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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!

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Tina Williamson

Writer and creator of Mindfulmazing

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Last Updated on September 22, 2020

How to Wake Up Early: 6 Things Early Risers Do

How to Wake Up Early: 6 Things Early Risers Do

You have probably heard the success stories about people who wake up early. Apple CEO Tim Cook, Oprah Winfrey, and Olympic medalist Caroline Burckle all talk about the positive impact of waking up early on their lives.

Even though many assign a portion of their success to waking up early, many find it difficult to make the switch. While most people know what needs to happen to change their life, they find then difficult to implement consistently. To understand how to wake up early, you need to tap into the wisdom of those already doing it.

Here are the 6 things early risers do:

1. Stop Procrastinating

The first thing you need to do when you want to learn how to wake up early is to go to sleep earlier. Stop procrastinating. You will find it much easier to wake up when you are getting the proper amount of sleep. Set a bedtime that allows you to get 8-hours of sleep and hold yourself accountable.

The problem most of you will have at first is how tired you will feel. If you are someone who goes to sleep after midnight, waking up by 6 a.m. will not be easy. The reason you need to push through that initial difficulty is that you are going to be very tired at the end of the day. Realistically, you probably would fall asleep at your desk or doze off on your lunch break. Either way, waking up early no matter how you feel will motivate you to go sleep at the proper time that night.

Think of it as someone who procrastinated until the night before their project was due. Having done this myself, you do what you need to do to complete the project, whether that means working all night or cutting some corners because you don’t have time to triple-check your work.

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After you turn in your project, you feel both exhaustion and jubilation. After you make it through the workday and crash at home, you promise yourself you’ll never wait until the last minute again. This same feeling will happen when you force yourself to wake up early no matter what time you went to sleep. You are going to promise yourself you will go to bed at the right time.

Most people don’t go to bed when they should because they know they will ultimately make it up in the morning.

2. Pace Yourself

If you want to start waking up a couple of hours earlier each day, you may not be able to make that change all at once. It stands to reason the more drastic the shift, the more difficult it will be.

So, instead of trying to adjust your sleep pattern by several hours, start in 15-minute or 30-minute intervals.[1] If you wake up 30 minutes earlier each week, you will be a morning person by the end of the month. This may feel like you are drawing out your goal but in reality, you are accomplishing it much quicker than most. Most people who are naturally night owls find it difficult to completely change their sleep habits overnight.

Think of it as someone who is trying to quit drinking coffee. Outside of the fact you may enjoy the taste of coffee, your body is used to operating with a certain amount of caffeine and sugar. Some will be able to quit overnight and their body will adjust accordingly. And if you are one of those people, then do what works for you.

However, if you were to take an incremental approach, then you may first start drinking your coffee black. Then, you could switch to decaf before slowly lowering the amount of coffee you drink each day. As you can see, this approach will help minimize the feeling of withdrawal while getting the results you want.

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3. Watch Your Lighting

Light reduces your body’s production of the sleep-inducing melatonin hormone. In practical terms, your body naturally wants to be awake when the sun is up and go to sleep when the sun is down. This is called your circadian rhythm.

In the technology-driven world we currently live in, you likely look at a screen or two before bed. Studies show television and phone screens trick your body into thinking the sun is up. As a result, your body starts producing less melatonin. To help you fall asleep, you should stop looking at screens at least an hour before bed.

This can also mean that if you want to wake up before the sun, looking at your screen when you wake up can help you to stay awake.

Peter Balyta, the President of Education Technology for Texas Instruments says he wakes up at 5:20 a.m. and scans his emails before starting his day. This is also true for M.I.T. president L. Rafael Rief. He wakes up around 5 or 5:30 a.m. and checks his phone for anything urgent.[2]

4. Make It Worth Your Time

Have you ever woken up early but went back to sleep because you didn’t have a reason to stay up? To put it another way, have you ever fallen asleep because you didn’t have anything better to do?

If you want to be excited about going to sleep and waking up early, then you need to give yourself a reason to be excited. You can accomplish this by listing the three things you want to accomplish the next morning. Notice I said “want” and not “need” to accomplish. You don’t want to be dragging yourself into the next morning kicking and screaming.

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Your list should not only include what you want to accomplish but also why you want to accomplish it. If you want to take it a step further, list the consequences of not waking up early.

People who have figured out how to wake up early are shown to be more successful, persistent, and proactive in their life. They tend to be happier and handle stress better. It is also shown that people who wake up early procrastinate less.[3] If you find any of these benefits something you want to add in your life, then waking up early is shown to help.

5. Avoid Binging

There is a difference between sleeping and getting a good night’s sleep. Sure, you can drink alcohol and fall asleep, but you will not be getting quality rest. You will wake up feeling as though you slept for only a couple hours.

It is best to stop drinking at least 4 hours before bedtime. Binge drinking is known to impact your sleep-inducing melatonin hormone levels for up to a week. The same holds true with eating a large meal right before bed. It is not that your body can’t process food and sleep at the same time. The main concern has more to do with the possibility of indigestion or heartburn than anything else.

If you find yourself dealing with either of these symptoms, then you may want to stop eating at least two hours before bed.

6. Get the Blood Flowing

Those who have mastered the technique of how to wake up early tend to start each morning with movement.

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Your first movement is to get out of bed. To help you get out of bed, have your alarm far enough away that you need to get up and turn it off. Before you allow yourself to contemplate going back to sleep, take a moment, and do 10 push-ups or 10 jumping jacks. Think of each exercise as you taking one step further from being able to go back to sleep.

Mellody Hobson, President of Ariel Investments wakes up at 4 a.m. each morning. She starts each day by exercising. Her exercises include running, weight lifting, swimming, and cycling.

You decide for yourself how you want to get your blood flowing. Whether you want to go on a walk, workout at the gym, or do something at home, make sure you are scheduling time to exercise.

Final Thoughts

The key to understanding how to wake up early is to recognize that it is heavily driven by the actions you take the night before. You will wake up early if you go to bed at a good time and get the proper amount of sleep.

By taking the time to prepare yourself both mentally and physically each night, you can ensure you are positioned for success the next morning. Once you have taken the proper actions the night before, make sure you use that momentum to start your day, on time.

The goal is to make the actions you want to take as easy as possible. The key to changing your life is to discover a way to have the wind at your back, going in the direction you want.

More Tips on How to Wake up Early

Featured photo credit: Laura Chouette via unsplash.com

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