It’s time to dive into six habits and practices that can up your focus and productivity. As any new habit they require time to implement so that they can override the old automatic habit you do without thinking. Remember – Rome wasn’t built in one day!
In order to go more into detail on each habit and provide tips and advice I will cover each in its own blog post. Today we’re diving into the number one – sleep!
Sleep is More Important Than You Think
Did you know that when you’re sleep-deprived your brain is operating at reduced capacity? That reduced capacity can be significant if you’re skimping on sleep on a regular basis.
Lack of sleep means reduced output in cognitive abilities such as focus, memory retention, decision-making and more. Simply put, sleep-deprivation means your brain takes longer to process things and you’re wasting a huge portion of your cognitive ability to get stuff done.
If you’re sleep-deprived on an on-going basis your brain operates as if you were intoxicated. You’re literally drunk!
Skimping on sleep has major health consequences not only short-term but long-term. It affects your immune system, your weight, your mood and many other things.
When you’re staying up late and ignoring the natural sleep cycle that’s influenced by the daylight, you’re missing what I call the sleep-train. Your melatonin cycle starts kicking in when the sun is setting and then goes to work to tell you to get your rear to bed. If you ignore that by interrupting the cycle with artificial light from electronics and lamps, your melatonin cycle slows down and you miss the sleep-train. Eventually other things kick in to help you get tired but if you pay attention you often start feeling tired right after sunset. Unfortunately, we’re so out of sync because our modern world has caused us to want to stay up until way past dark!
Melatonin, the hormone involved in making you sleepy, is also a precursor to serotonin which is your mood hormone. Get enough sleep and you will feel happier too! We all know we get cranky when we’re tired!
Turn OFF All Electronics
Whatever you feed your brain before you go to bed is what your brain will process.
Your brain is an amazing tool that can help you get answers, provide solutions and come up with ideas. Make sure you choose what you want it to work on. Your friends FB posts, the never-ending stream of negative news or a goal you’re trying to achieve?
If you get your 7-8 hours of sleep but you still wake up feeling tired, take a look at what you feed your brain in the evening. Alcohol can also affect your sleep-cycle and so can caffeine, even if you only had it in the morning.
Turn off your electronics an hour before bedtime. Use that time to read a good book, spend quality time with family or friends, meditate, journal, or do any other activity that feeds your soul with good input.
Key is to do activities that slows your brain down so that you can sleep. A great way to help your brain slow down is to do a “brain dump” before bed. Grab a notepad and write down anything you’re thinking about, tasks you need to do the next day and so forth. Get it out of your head and onto paper.
In addition leave your cellphone and other devices in a different room. The electromagnetic field energy that you get from your phone can actually cause you to have restless sleep! Turn off your internet router too. That electromagnetic field energy can mess up your sleep cycle more than you think.
I know it’s easy to think you don’t have time to get your sleep in. There’s so much to do! But reality is, a sleep-deprived brain has to work harder to help you get stuff done. We’re all about working smarter, not harder so if your brain is operating at a more efficient level, you get stuff done faster, which will free you up to do other things.
Action Step: Start going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night for the next few weeks. Once you have that incorporated as a new habit, add another 15 minutes and so on until you have achieved a better bedtime routine allowing you to consistently get 7-8 hours of sleep. You’ll start noticing the difference which will make you want to go to bed!
If you want to be more productive, more focused, feel better, think more positive – get serious about getting your sleep in!