Hi there! I’m so happy to see you well-rested, totally refreshed, and ready to take on the day!
Ok, maybe you’re not. If you’re anything like I used to be, it’s more likely you didn’t sleep that great, you had to make coffee this morning that could double as rocket fuel, and you’re already dreaming about the nap you won’t have time to take later.
But here’s the question: why is that?
I know you’ve heard how important sleep is to your health. You should strive to get eight hours, you know that sleep is when your brain recharges, and you know it’s important for your mental health.
Even so, you probably don’t take it that seriously, and if push comes to shove, sleep will take the back seat if something has to be skipped. If you’re nodding your head, then please keep reading!
I used to completely miss out on quality sleep — in fact I wore it as a badge of pride how much I could get done after having so few hours of it.
I’ve always been an extreme morning person and still am. But I learned the hard way how important it is to also go to bed early enough to get my full eight hours in.
I used to believe that if you took a nap you were “lazy.” I’m sure that thought stemmed from being raised by a workaholic father who used to make me feel like sleeping in was for losers who had no goals in life. (In his defense, sleeping until noon just to roll out of bed and go lay out by the pool certainly didn’t make me a go-getter.)
But not only is it an excellent idea to close your eyes on a busy day if you’re exhausted, it’s even more important to ensure that you don’t feel that way in the first place.
Because here’s what happens: you don’t sleep, you start the day tired, the inevitable daily activities wear you down even more, then you’re exhausted — and then you don’t feel like making healthy choices much less have the capacity to make them.
And if you don’t fuel your body properly and hardly ever exercise, you’re going to be even more exhausted and therefore feel even less like doing those things. Needless to say, you won’t lose any weight either.
From a health perspective, sleep is your ultimate ally. It lowers the cortisol in your bloodstream (aka, the “stress” hormone), which means you’ll store less fat around your midsection. It also makes you feel more calm and able to think clearly, which means you’ll make better decisions when choosing what to eat. My favorite thing about sleep is that it makes your skin look better; your body increases blood flow to your skin while you sleep, making it look fresh and alive instead of dull and lifeless. Literally, sleeping beauty!
The bottom line is that you need to make sleep a priority — especially if you want to feel healthy and lose weight.
So here is a list of tips you can use to start getting better sleep . . . hopefully tonight!
Adopt good habits:
- Get in bed 30 minutes before you usually do to unwind
- Don’t watch TV in bed; make your bed a place of rest, not entertainment
- Don’t bring electronics to bed either; read a book instead, and make sure the last thing you read is positive and inspiring, not negative or upsetting
- Limit or eliminate alcohol during the week, and don’t drink at least 1 hour before bed; alcohol disrupts your sleep patterns
- Keep a bottle of water by your bed to drink as soon as you wake up to rehydrate
Prep your environment:
- Straighten your bedroom; get rid of the dirty laundry on the floor and eliminate the clutter, so you feel calm instead of stressed and overwhelmed
- Get a sound machine; block out ambient noise (sirens, loud neighbors, your snoring husband) that interferes with your sleep
- Buy new bed linens to make your bed an oasis of comfort; I buy hotel-quality sheets, pillows, feather beds, and duvets — I swear it’s worth every penny!
Turn your bedroom into a spa:
- Spray your sheets with perfume before you get in
- Massage lavender oil on your wrists or temples while you settle in
- Light a scented candle next to your bed
- Give yourself a mask while you read
- Listen to some meditation music before you turn the lights out
You can go totally crazy with this and do all of these things if you want. I do! I absolutely love going to bed early and getting quality sleep. Just ask my kids — I go to bed before they do.
The most important thing you have to do if you want to improve your sleep is to commit to getting enough of it — and making it high-quality. It doesn’t count if you get in bed at 8:00 pm, only to wake up in the middle of the night with the TV blaring.
And if you’re worried about being too busy to go to sleep early enough to get a full eight hours, think of it this way: if you made sleep a priority, you’d have way more energy to do all of those things faster and more efficiently the next day.
After you read this, leave a comment and let me know which tactics you’re going to try first . . . and if you have one that didn’t make the list, let me know what it is!
It may seem like a trivial thing to commit to, but adequate sleep is one of those things that you really can’t afford not to get. Don’t keep letting life run you ragged and never recharge yourself the way you deserve to.
And, trust me, once you start getting used to sleeping like a baby, you’ll never let anything get in the way again.