It’s 3:45 in the morning and I can’t sleep. Blogging is on my “to-do” list and I’ve decided to go for the topic of sleep! With a lot on my mind this week and traveling for work, I found myself waking up frequently with racing thoughts. As a busy professional, I often sacrifice sleep thinking I will get more done with the additional hours in my day. Is this effective? The answer is NO! “Sleep is not a luxury,” says Dr. James O’Brien, medical director of the Boston SleepCare Center in Waltham, Mass. “It’s a necessity for optimal functioning.”
Getting the right amount of sleep (7-8) hours is important to performance. When coaching clients, one of the first things we address is sleep. Sleeping allows your brain to make an inventory of the previous day, grooms your memory, and balances hormones involved in energy, mood and mental agility. With little sleep, concentration, memory, mood, and productivity are weakened. Studies show that people with fewer than 6 hours of sleep are more likely to be obese.
Here’s a laundry list proving this point further. Getting adequate sleep helps you to:
- be more vigilant
- emotionally well
- make better decisions
- be more physically healthy
- solve problems efficiently
- be more productive
- recover from distractions
- prevent burnout
- improve memory
GET THAT SLEEP! (I know I am being hypocritical but, like everyone else, I’m doing my best. I am actually writing this in hopes to convince myself to make sleep a priority.) Here’s how:
- Avoid caffeine
- Turn off electronics half hour before bed
- Meditate on your day and set tomorrow’s goals as you are trying to fall asleep
- Eat a bedtime snack to regulate blood sugar throughout the night
- Try a Mg+ supplement (responsible for muscle relaxation)
- Make your environment completely dark. (It may sound silly, but when working with night shift Nurses, we found sunglasses on the way home to be helpful)
- Try a sound machine, white noise or a meditation track
- Take power naps
Don’t compromise your work performance by neglecting one of the most important tools to being productive. TGIF so I can go back to bed and sleep in!
I’d love to hear from you. What helps you sleep better? What does your body say to you when you don’t get enough sleep?