Energy. We all value it, but it seems to be a constant struggle in the fast-paced environment we live in. How do we focus and achieve at the level we want? Especially when it may feel like we are going at 120% all the time. Some people might suggest morning coffee, which definitely can be a huge help, but the much more important way to gain energy is: sleep. In this blog post, I am going to be discussing some of my best sleep tips for how to sleep well and get the amount you need. Focusing on your sleep will not only increase your energy, but also protect your mental health.
1. Figure out what works for you
Our bodies like to act on a schedule, but no one said that every person has the same biological schedule. Some of us prefer the morning hours and are called “morning birds.” Others are “night owls” who will stay up late, and get out of bed much later. Do you tend to be the first one of your friends to go to bed, but are also up earlier than them? Then you are probably more of a “morning bird.” I know I am. My brain and body function better if I am more productive in the morning than later in the day. The afternoon after-lunch slump is very real for me!
Knowing this, I start my day fairly early and try to get my most challenging tasks done in the morning. This also means that I am the friend that cuts out earliest from late night hangouts with friends. Choosing what works best for you can feel bad at first, but doing so will allow you to have more energy and get more done throughout your day. So, what schedule works best for you?
2. Consistency really is key
How many of you watched the Times Square Ball Drop to start off the year? Did it mess up your sleep schedule? Personally, as fun as it has been to watch the Times Square Ball Drop and celebrate, I have learned the importance of keeping a schedule for my sleep and guarding it with my life. This means no Times Square Ball Drops for me! Even just a short vacation throws my perfect “in-bed by 10:30 pm up at 6:30 am routine” completely out of whack. Unfortunately, it can take months to fix.
Oh, and that idea that staying up 24 hrs to reset your sleep? A total myth! A better way to fix your sleep schedule is to move it back (or forward depending on what you need) an hour or so at a time. Be aware of your tendencies to stay up late on the weekend and maybe even set a reminder for bed. In the long run your body will thank you.
On top of this, make sure you have a routine for getting ready for bed. Do you typically watch a show, brush your teeth and hop in bed? Or some nights you flop into bed right after dinner then other nights spend some time reading in bed then other nights you shower right before bed? All these different cues can confuse your body. Your body likes consistency, even if you don’t! Try it tonight. Make a list of your routine, start small. Maybe it’s: turn off screens at 9pm, brush teeth, wash face by 9:30pm, in bed with sound machine on by 10pm. I know for me, having my phone automatically go to “do not disturb” during the hours I want to sleep. Not only does this prevent a rude awakening, but it also reminds me I should be putting the phone down when that is turned on.
3. Having trouble falling asleep? Try breathing
I know this is talked about a lot, but it is only because it is so helpful: meditation. Whether it is guided-meditation, or just focusing on your breath on your own, taking time to clear your mind is the key to getting a good night’s rest. I am the type of person who will suddenly have a billion thoughts racing around my mind before I go to sleep. Focusing on my breath can feel like the last thing I should be paying attention to in the moment. Yet, it can be the most helpful way to actually get to into a sleep state that can be so elusive when our thoughts are racing.
Figuring out what works for you, staying consistent, and using proven techniques to help yourself achieve better sleep can be super hard. Even just one of those can be a challenge. However, when you are able to use these techniques, you will feel better rested when you get out of bed. Here’s a simple equation to keep in mind:
Feeling better rested = more energy
On top of more energy, it is a lot easier to focus on the positive if you are not getting out of bed already grumpy. There is truth behind “getting up on the right side of the bed” except it has more to do with getting the sleep you need then the actual side of the bed you get up on! Good luck getting that precious sleep and ENERGY!