For many of us, we work with colleagues, purchase from salespeople, or sell to customers who are all as intelligent, talented, and creative as we are. So how do we get ahead in the business world when the differential between you and the people around you is small? You need to optimize those parts of our life that help you execute ideas and make better decisions. Those aspects of life are your nutrition, fitness, and sleep.
We cannot control the number of minutes our bodies spend sleeping. Nor can we control whether that sleep is spent more in deep, light or REM. What we CAN control are the actions we can take to increase the odds that our sleep is restful and rejuvenating.
1.Decide on a bedtime in advance.
Decide on a bedtime in advance and then set an alarm an hour before that bedtime. Just like you don’t immediately jump into an intense workout without warming up, you can’t immediately drift into deep sleep without cooling down.
2. Put away electronics.
The purpose of this process, or our sleep ritual, is to help our bodies wind down. Staring at the bright white light from our phones as we compare our lives to the perfect images of friends and families on social media does not help our bodies relax.
3. Make a “thought list”.
Now that your phone is away, make a “thought list” of anything going on in your mind when your alarm starts buzzing one hour before your bedtime. This could be a to-do list for tomorrow, a reflection of how your day went, or what you are currently feeling in the moment. The idea is to get these thoughts out of your mind…
4. Make some decaf tea.
Part of our bedtime ritual is to communicate to our body that we want it to go to sleep soon. Drinking tea (decaffeinated, of course) is one such way of communicating with our bodies.
5. Turn the air down in your bedroom.
As nighttime approaches, our body temperature naturally drops, signaling that it’s time to slow down and get some rest. By keeping your bedroom cooler, you’re reinforcing your body’s natural instinct to sleep. If the room is too hot, it could potentially block that signal and cause it to take longer for you to fall asleep.
6. Black-out your bedroom.
Darkness tells our body that it’s time for sleep. Even a small bit of light can signal to your body that it should be alert. Using blackout drapes are a fantastic idea along with turning all clocks facing away from your bed. Get good drapes or blinds, block out ambient light, and cover any light sources (e.g. electronic displays).
7. Most importantly, don’t worry about not being able to sleep.
Once you have controlled what you can control, relax and let the body do the best it can.