What makes people successful? More specifically, what makes successful people less stressed and more productive? A big factor is a good night’s sleep.
Sleep is becoming a hot topic, with the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Arianna Huffington and Jennifer Lopez (just to name a few!) all sharing their love and necessity of sleep.
From her book, Thrive, Huffington says that “by sleeping more we, in fact, become more competent and in control of our lives.” But why is this the case? While you’re sleeping, your body is busy tending to your physical and mental health and getting you ready for another day. When you’re deprived of sleep, your brain can’t function properly, affecting your ability to make good decisions and solve problems.
Sleep is also something that highly successful people prioritise. They know they need to get a decent night’s sleep in order to tackle the challenges they’ll face the following day, as well as to minimize stress and have better focus.
However getting some decent shut eye is a lot easier said than done. Often we get caught up in our busy schedules and before you know it, it’s 11pm and you still haven’t watched the most recent episode Game of Thrones. So how do they make time for sleep? And when there is time for sleep, how do they get enough of it?
Successful people stick to a schedule in most areas of their lives, and this includes sleep. As much as possible, they go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up at the same time every morning. Before bed, they’ll also have habits they perform to help them sleep. And when they wake, they’ll often have the same morning routine to set themselves up for the day ahead.
It takes 21 days to form a habit, so commit to three weeks of going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, as well as doing the same things before bed and after waking. Try a good book and soothing music before bed, and a healthy breakfast and a bit of light exercise in the morning.
Stress is a major contributor to sleep deprivation. Our days can be challenging, stressful and full of important decisions and tasks, and it can be hard to turn all of this thinking off come bed time. Successful people utilise the effects of meditation to unwind from their day and prepare them for the next. Meditation will allow you to become more mindful, reduce the negative effect of stress, and improve your quality of sleep.
Successful people try to avoid caffeine, alcohol and heavy foods right before bed. Your body isn’t meant to be digesting while you sleep, so a big meal too close to bedtime may keep you up at night. Alcohol will also disrupt your sleep patterns and brainwaves that help you feel refreshed in the morning. The beer or glass of wine may help you doze off initially, but once it wears off, you’re likely to wake up and have a hard time getting back to sleep. Instead, try drinking a relaxing herbal tea.
It’s a bad idea to watch television, use a computer, play video games, or be on your phone before going to sleep. Successful people eliminate stimulants from their bedrooms, instead focusing calming elements such as scented candles, soothing music and good books. Put your gadgets away an hour before bedtime and instead use the time to start a gratitude journal and write down learnings from the day or things that you’re grateful for. Create a peaceful oasis in your bedroom that includes a top notch mattress, soft tones and calming music that will allow you to relax and take a vacation from the day so that you’re ready for the next.
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