Today’s post is inspired by Ariana Huffington, who has given many speeches about “sleeping your way to the top” and the core of her talks was the importance of sleep and some of the serious consequences she had to endure due to the lack of sleep.
The topic of sleep or the lack of it resonates a lot with me personally and I know that sleep is something that most of us could use a little more of. There might be some (lucky) people though who sleep a little more than necessary, and their challenge is to to get a little less sleep, but the majority of us needs more sleep.
My story in a nutshell:
In the past I used to work full time, study on the side and building my online coaching business on the side. The situation got very bad, that during exam periods I frequently focused on 2-3 hours of sleep. And outside exam periods I never really had more than 5 hours of sleep.
As a result I was constantly tired, but during exam periods I was so exhausted that my mental capacity was reduced to the level of a drunken person and by the time the exam period ended I was on the border of nervous system breakdown and I barely could put together a grammatically correct sentence not even in my native language.
This had a huge impact on my productivity at work, at school and my business was going nowhere. I knew that something had to give and I did take massive action to restructure my life so now, I’m having 8 hours of sleep a day and my life has transformed completely.
What does lack of sleep does to you?
Lack of sleep kills more brain cells than alcohol so it makes you dumb. Sleep deprivation decreases your cognitive abilities, can lead to weight gain and lead to serious diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and so many more nasty conditions.
If you are interested in more all you need to know is to google “impact of lack of sleep” and you’ll see tons and tons of articles about what lack of sleep can really do to you. Some of these articles go to such an extent where they say that lack of sleep can really kill you.
So it’s all good to know, but what can we all do to make a change? I’m going to share with you those action steps which I have taken to shift my sleeping habits and and change my life. These are actions steps that you can take as well and see how it impacts you and your life.
Action step 1 – Make sleep a non negotiable
You know there are people who say that they cannot because they do not have the time and resources to exercise, eat well or sleep enough, but if a doctor told them that they had to otherwise they would die, then suddenly these people would make it a priority to get the exercise, good food and sleep that they are prescribed.
Action step 2 – Schedule sleep
This sounds weird but you can actually schedule sleep. I was using this nifty sleep calculating tool to get more sleep or get just enough sleep on the really intense days. To make the calculator work, you have to input the time you need to wake up and this system works backwards.
So based on the time you need to wake up, you can make a sleep schedule to get the very needed 8 hours of sleep you need. After you have the schedule, stick with it. Just schedule your sleep for one week and see how it impacts you.
Action step 3 – Cut the crap and the to do list
To get more sleep and avoid spinning your wheels, getting nowhere you have to realize the things:
1.-You do but you really shouldn’t
Such as:hanging out on social media all the time or your favourite news site or whatever it is for you. These things consume your time without you realizing it. According to Digital Trends, an average American is spending 4.7 hours on their phone per day. What would you do with having that 4-5 hours a day? What would you do with that time?
2.- You want to do but not very likely to happen
There are things we all have on or to do list that we want to do but it is not very likely to happen, such as learning one or more foreign languages. But because these things are not essential for you, will not have a paramount impact on your life so you are pushing these back on your list, saying: “I’ll get around it sometime” but that day never happens.
You can get instant relief by crossing these items from your list so they are not weighing you down and gives you the extra capacity to focus on the things that will have an impact on your life, business and career.
3.- Take more than they give
If you are spending time on doing activities that are not yielding you any kind of results or accomplishment in any form, then you should cut these activities from your schedule.
For example: if you are attending seminars and courses but you do not implement then you are wasting your time and money and should quit going to these events until you take action on some of those that you have attended.
Or if you have a business or job that takes too much out of you, then you should consider looking for ways with which you could achieve a greater balance of life.
If you can do these, then you’ll be surprised on the impact it will have on your well being physically, emotionally and professionally. You’ll performance will dramatically increase and you’ll be emotionally more stable and be able to deal with all that life is throwing at you day in and day out.
Question for you
What are your sleep habits? Do you need to get more or less and what will you do about it?