Stop and take one big deep breath.
Now take another big deep breath.
That may be the first time today that we have been able to take a pause and be still. It is so hard to find time to allow ourselves to rest in today's world. While the days of no sleep being a badge of honor are passing, it is still hard to wrap our minds around taking time to recover and take time for ourselves. From the moment we wake up until the time we go to sleep, our schedules are packed with work, training, meetings, socializing, errands, projects, side hustles, and on and on, that we run ourselves into the ground and finally decide to rest when we get sick.
What is it that makes us run ourselves ragged and then show up at only a fraction of our capacity to our job, our relationships, and our training? How come we can't shut things down and get the amount of sleep that will help us be healthier and more effective?
As we look for the answers to the these questions, we have to understand that without proper rest and recovery our efforts will fall short in all areas of our lives. We can't show up in our relationships if we are running on empty and have a short fuse with the important people in our lives. We can't get better at our sport and in the gym when we can only give half effort because we haven't slept in the last week. We won't be able to progress at work when we only have access to a small percentage of our mental resources because we haven't made our personal recovery a priority.
Many performance experts reference sleep as the number one performance enhancement tool that anyone can utilize if they want to continue to get better. It cannot be understated how important it is to give our brains and bodies an opportunity to heal, repair, store memories and information from the day, replenish energy, and keep our immune systems strong.
As we think about our ability to recover, the best place to start is with sleep. Take a moment and reflect on the sleep habits that we have and whether they are allowing us to perform our best or holding us back from being our best. Regardless of where we fall with our sleep, we can all work to improve the quality and duration of our sleep.
The goal for this week is to see what happens if we improve our sleep. Whatever our relationship is with sleep, let's try to get more restful sleep for the next week. We can do this by focusing on a few things that we can control when it comes to sleep.
Leverage these three tips to get better sleep this week!
1) Create the darkest possible setting for sleep. Darkness is one of the most impactful components to getting restful sleep. If we can't see something 2 feet in front of our face then that's a good indicator it's dark enough!
2) Set the temperature in the room to 63-68 degrees. This can vary for folks, but cooler is better than warmer. Waking up sweating or being too hot during the night can disrupt restful sleep.
3) Set up a sleep routine to help wind down from the day. It can begin with eliminating some of the bright lights we are accustomed to such as our phones, tv, laptops, etc. From there, we can work to offload some of the thinking, planning, and analyzing from the day by writing down our thoughts in a journal or engaging in a mindfulness practice.
Start out small and try these keys to getting more restful sleep!
"Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together." -Thomas Dekker