This is my 30th blog post in a row and I am very excited to share it with you. We are going to talk about sleep which after nutrition and movement is an important element contributing to your wellness.
As one of the sleep protagonists and a guest of Tom Bilyeu’s show Impact Theory, Matthew Walker, said: “From the evolutionary perspective, sleep is the most idiotic of all behaviours”.
And yet, we cannot survive without it.
We all know that sleep is essential and for many it’s been a long time since we experienced waking up full of energy and mental focus after a good night's sleep. So let me ask you: What is holding you back from getting it? What is stopping you from going to sleep early enough so that we can wake up earlier? I have been asking this question for a long time as I have been struggling with being in bed by 11 pm for many years. Many times it felt to me that the day is “too short” and I wanted to do many additional things so going to bed a few hours earlier sounded a bit extraordinary. As you can imagine, once I started ticking those “6 ams and 11 pms” from the list, the pay-off was high. I have suddenly started to be more productive, joyful and even confident! Please do not think that I was perfect, there were days when I made it out of bed at 06:15 am or I slept less than 7 hours but I made sure to keep it in mind in the evening and get that beautiful 7 hour sleep (which is the number of sleep hours that work for me).
Imagine how many more projects and tasks from the to do list you can tick off, how much more time you will have for yourself, your family, friends, work, business, hobbies etc. And I am not even talking here about the health benefits that a good night sleep brings the next day. Mel Robbins said in one of her videos that having a good sleep is a form of “self-love”. And this really resonated with me because over the years of working from home I have really focused on self-care as a coping mechanism with feeling lonely in the involuntary isolation.
So if you believe that you are ready to start sleeping better, I have discovered that as you begin practising going to bed earlier and even though it may feel hard, the most difficult is taking the first step, that first day. Then next you need to overcome your habitual thoughts on the 3rd day, 7th day and then you are on the good trajectory to a better sleeping routine!
Here are few areas to explore.
- Place and Environment
First and foremost, we look at the place where you sleep, because that’s when sleep “happens”. So I would review the mattress and pillow you are sleeping on and what is the correct type for your body. I have learned how to fall asleep on the back which is the recommended position for your digestive system, spine health and facial wrinkles. Then it is the room temperature and how dark the room is. Sleeping in the colder room (18 degrees Celsius) gives you the opportunity to fall asleep quicker and the darker the room the better; studies show that your production of melatonin (hormone of darkness) is directly correlated with your quality of sleep.
- Food and drinks
Eliminate alcohol, coffee, black tea,green tea and heavy meals 2-3 hours before you go to sleep. Also anything you eat late, will be added to the body fat rather than having it burned during an activity.
- Relax your mind, body and soul
Your mind has been working very hard the whole day. So before you go to bed, release the tension from your body which would release the tension from your mind. You can practise stretching, yoga, meditation, burning candles, relaxing music (delta waves and “screen-free time”. Another great way to prepare your mind and body to sleep is journaling as an act of self-care or some nourishing reading. Slow down by writing out your tasks and prepare for the next day, embrace single tasking. High-quality is also important for your mind to process thoughts and store them into the memory.
- Review your morning routine
In this blog we focus on preparing ourselves for sleep which is also part of the evening routine however your morning routine is even more important. So keep in mind the cycle.
- Optional Challenge
If you want to move your sleeping practise to another level, I would like to challenge you with the Wim Hof Method. It is a combination of breathing, cold therapy, commitment as well as additional yoga exercises. Among many benefits is improvement to your cardiovascular system, lowering the level of your anxiety and stress which will help you to sleep better. You can check Wim Hof’s website here and also find there an app: https://www.wimhofmethod.com/
Please remember that if you are not sleeping enough, for weeks and months, you risk stress and fatigue which may lead not only to poorer health or relations but also to loss of your job, worse decisions for example financial ones. If you are not alert and attentive enough, some mistakes cannot be returned. So in order to experience life’s joy that comes from the depth of activity, from the life’s anchors, from the attention and like Eckhart Tolle’s title of the book says, from “The power of now”. So make sure you sleep as much as your body, mind and soul needs to live a happy and full life.