So many of my clients say the same thing:
I’m so tired.
I don’t have enough energy.
Yet when I ask them how much sleep they are getting, the answer is often:
See, they already know that they aren’t getting enough sleep, but at the same time, they don’t prioritise getting the sleep that they need. They say they have no time to sleep.
Aside from just feeling tired, a lack of sleep can cause people to put on weight, make mistakes at work, feel grumpy, depressed as well as leave them feeling like the only way to get through the day is give themselves a big hit of caffeine or sugar. Chronic lack of sleep is also known to be a factor in type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
It’s all well and good knowing this, but if we don’t have enough space in our lives to get more sleep, then I reckon we might want to see what we can do to make the sleep that we do get even better quality.
Seeing as this is still Winter-time, it’s the very best time of year to catch up on some Zzzzzzz’s – our minds might be used to living with electric lights and central heating, but our bodies very much want us to hibernate a little when the night hours last longer than daylight.
So, what to do when you have no time to sleep? Quit life, and live in a cave for the Winter? Or maybe try one or two of these super handy ‘get good sleep’ tips?
- Switch off early. I know that it’s tempting to have a quick look at your phone just before bed to catch up on emails or facebook, but the blue light that comes from devices can seriously affect your ability to drop off to sleep, and the depth of your sleep too.
- Checking devices to read, or watching the news on TV before bed is never a good idea. While you may feel that it’s necessary to get ahead of world or local events, what actually happens is that the information can cause you something of a stress response. Even if that response is a tiny one, it’s still a stress response, and a stress response just before bed isn’t going to help you relax and sleep deeply. In fact, all it’s going to do is make your mind spin and your heart rate go up – all of which mean that sleep isn’t quite as restorative as it should be.
- Get yourself a lovely bedtime routine. Maybe a nice cup of chamomile tea, or a warm bath, or a nice book to wind down and for your body and mind to know that its time to get ready for sleep. A bedtime routine works for babies, and there’s no reason at all to think that we as adults are above a bit of bedtime prep!
- Go to bed earlier. I know that this isn’t always possible, nor desireable, but when you can, rather than stay up as long as you can, hit the sack a tiny bit sooner, and see if it makes a difference. Getting extra sleep is hard because, well, life gets in the way. But making an effort to get a little bit more time tucked up with a teddy (totally optional) is well worth it – especially in the Winter when our bodies WANT us to sleep a bit more. So, rather than read those last few pages of your book, or do one last bit of work, head to bed fifteen minutes sooner and grab some extra snooze time.
- Have a drink of water before you go to bed. Yes, it might mean you’ll need a wee during the night; but a two minute trip to the loo at night is nowhere near as bad as taking 2 hours to drop off. The reason for drinking water before bed is that being dehydrated is really stressful on your body. And when something is stressful, your body can’t relax, not properly. It’s like asking yourself to fall asleep while doing a maths test. Just not possible. So have a little glug before you plop your head on the pillow.
I totally get that these tips might not seem overly exciting. Nor are they like some sort of magic bullet, designed to solve all your energy and tiredness worries in one sleep. Nor will they change your life if you really have no time to sleep.
But it’s a start.
Which is exciting (if you get excited by sleeping like I do!)
There are, of course, loads of other things you could do to help boost your sleep. If you want to find out what would work for you, book a Start Right Review and I’ll get you sleeping like a sleeping so and so!