Making sleep your newest priority
Do you ever feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day? Have you ever been juggling a million different things at once and all you want is to take a break, but if you take a break you know that nothing is ever going to get done? Have you ever felt so exhausted that even the simplest of tasks feel impossible? I know I have. In moments like these all I want to do is curl up in a little ball under my fuzzy purple blanket and listen to my meditation music. In order to keep my mind and body from working any further, I feel like the only option is sleep. But hey, we are adults and adults can't afford to take naps. If we take naps we will miss out on important things, so what do we do instead to keep us awake… WE DRINK COFFEE.
Caffeine is not the solution to your problems, a sleep schedule is. I have become extremely passionate about having routined sleep patterns and have decided to dedicate an entire post to the topic of sleep because it is something we all lack. I firmly believe that once you have a sleep schedule that is right for you, than the rest of your to-do list will fall into place. So here we go…
1. Make an effort to get minimum eight hours of sleep per night
You have all probably heard this one before, but the reason you’ve heard it a million times is because it is the TRUTH. Yes, I said it is the TRUTH. If you sleep minimum eight hours a day that means you are awake running around doing what you do for sixteen hour straight throughout the rest of the day. And, if you are getting less than eight hours of sleep per night you are probably up for even longer. Your body does not know how to handle that much activity. Completing tasks at the twentieth hour is never a good idea. Your mind and body need time to relax and settle down. We live such fast paced lives that we rarely have time to give ourselves the proper rest we need. So, make it a point to try and get at least eight hours per night, I promise you it really does help.
2. Have a consistent bed time at night and a consistent rising time in the morning
This one is closely related to the prior point about getting eight hours, however, the only way to ensure that doing that is possible you have to create an approximate bedtime and wake up time. Personally, I try to be in bed by 8:30 and asleep by 9:30. For that hour before bed, I am usually journaling, reading, listening to music, meditating, or watching TV. Using electronics is not the best choice before bed because it increases brain activity, but sometimes it helps me wind down. It is also important in the beginning to set an alarm every morning. I usually wake up around 6:30am on school days and sometimes even earlier at 5am to go to the gym. Because I wake up at this time five days of the week, on the weekends I should try and get up around a similar hour. As much as we need sleep, it is also a bad thing to oversleep. The issue of oversleeping is very present during the weekends when students are trying to catch up on the sleep they lost by staying up late to study during the week. Oversleeping will mess up your sleep pattern and sometimes make you even more drowsy and lazy. Once your body becomes use to going to bed and waking up at the same times you will no longer need to set an alarm or put a reminder on your phone because it becomes second nature.
3. Do some type of relaxation or breathing exercise to settle your mind and body
If you have read my post about mediation, you will know how much it has changed my life. Practicing meditation before bed helps my mind calm down and focus the act of falling asleep, rather than contemplating different scenarios about my life. I use an app called Calm. This app offers a series of sleep stories, sleep music, and even specific sessions to release stress before bed. Meditating at night and focusing in on your breath allows you to notice the silence of your room and slowly drift off into a peaceful and deep slumber. I strongly believe that mediation is a crucial step in perfecting you sleep schedule.
I hope that these three quick tips were helpful. I have been trying to find a way to organize my thoughts about sleep and I found this way to be the most informative. Sleep is vital in better your overall mood, efficiency, and life. Scheduling is an important part of life and it is key that you prioritize your sleep as you would any other daily task.