Today, I wanted to take a 20-minute nap.
Instead, I woke up 2 hours later, feeling grumpy and tired.
I felt lousy most of the day, started arguing with my wife about the most stupid things and kept losing my patience with my kids- all things I do not feel very proud about in hindsight.
When I took a moment to reflect on why I was feeling so irritated, I realized that in all this craziness that we are experiencing, I have neglected my sleep.
I discovered that once the kids went to sleep, I would stay up longer than usual to catch up with work, hang out with my wife and watch a bit of Netflix.
At the same time, I still had to wake up as soon as our kids would get up- usually by the latest 6 am.
So instead of sleeping 8 hours, I barely slept 6.
I knew I had to change this immediately.
In fact, science backs the fact that we all need at least 8 hours, and this is especially so in difficult times like now!
For example, numerous studies confirm that sleep loss is associated with a higher risk of getting sick, decreases in our memory and ability to think clearly and lead to weight gain.
Researchers at Boston University in Massachusetts have even found that when we sleep, a fluid present in the brain and spinal cord called the cerebrospinal fluid — washes in and out, like waves, helping the brain get rid of cellular debris, process our day and wake up feeling more creative and sharp.
In short, when we lack sleep, we are more irritable, impatient and restless, which of course is not helpful in a time where so much chaos is already happening.
So my question to you today is this:
Over the last week, how well and how much did you sleep?
How rested have you been feeling?
The good news about the current lockdown is that we don’t spend time going out, which makes these days our perfect opportunity to focus on prioritizing our sleep.
It takes some discipline, but it’s worth the effort!
The key is to ensure that we get 8 hours of quality sleep, by setting a specific bedtime. Since my kids wake me up at 6 am, I need to be asleep by 10 pm.
Going to sleep and waking up at the same time may sound boring. However, I promise you that once you automatically start waking up feeling the kind of energy and freshness that lasts a full day, you will love your new sleeping schedule.
And it will help you be so much more productive.
OK, getting enough sleep is only half the deal.
We also want to make sure we sleep well, especially when we feel anxious.
For this purpose, we want to introduce a nighttime ritual that gets us feeling more relaxed and sleepy before bedtime, especially in stressful times like we are currently experiencing.
This is why a simple pre-sleep routine can help.
Mine used to look like this before this current crisis.
- I brush my teeth by around 21:30 pm.
- I do a short meditation to calm down.
- I think of a few things I feel grateful for.
- I say good night to my wife.
In addition, I would avoid using any kind of screens in the last hour before going to sleep- meaning no TV, no phones and no computers.
I can tell you when I did those things, the quality of my sleep was so much better, which is why, from tonight, I plan to do these things again.
Day 5: Prioritize sleep
For tomorrow, your challenge is to give yourself the gift of 8 hours of quality sleep. To ensure you can follow through with this, set an alarm clock one hour before your designated bedtime, and define right now what you will do in the last 60 minutes before going to bed, to enhance the quality of your sleep.
In the mean, let me know once you manage to workout today, by leaving a comment down below with the note “done”!
PS. You can check all the previous challenges below:
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