When you run your own business and life gets in the way, sleeping tips like “Stick to a strict bedtime and schedule” aren’t very useful. Many of us don’t have a straightforward 9-5 job! However, we can’t perform at our best or avoid burn out unless we’re getting enough sleep. So, what can we do?
True Story: In the past, I would get an average of 3.5 – 4.5 hours of sleep a night on a work night. Seriously. On weekends I would crash and sleep in but I’d soon be back to my sleep deprived state.
That lasted about 2 years before I had a bit of a burn out. I’m not perfect now but I do usually get a minimum of 6-7 hours of sleep which is a big difference. I spent over 10 years of my life not getting enough sleep and it wasn’t easy making changes.
So, how did I do it? These are tips and tricks that worked for me.
Be honest and commit
I spent a lot of time telling myself (and other people!) that I could function and get by on 3 hours of sleep. Perhaps I could once but not anymore! And certainly not for more than 1 day! I had to accept that I needed to change and that if I wanted to be at my best – or at least function properly, I needed more sleep.
I had to take the change seriously, set some sleep related goals and commit to making those changes.
Change the story
I spent years telling myself and others that I had sleeping problems, trouble falling asleep, staying asleep and waking up. It actually became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Now, I’m not saying everyone can cure their insomnia by telling themselves they don’t really have it, but thinking more positively about your sleeping habits can make a big difference to a lot of people.
Take off the pressure, put yourself in a positive mindset and give yourself a better chance of success.
Create a ritual
Most guides to getting better sleep will tell you to stick to a strict bedtime schedule. However, we know that as depending on workload and life, this isn’t always realistic. This is especially true for a lot of the event planning business owners that we coach.
What you can commit to is a strict ritual. Whether that involves taking a bath, a beauty routine, reading, meditation or anything else is up to you. You need to decide on something relaxing that works for you and lets your body and mind know that it’s time to sleep.
My ritual involves reading a non work related book in bed with a cup of night time tea (no caffeine).
Get rid of clutter
Clutter is big no-no for bedrooms. Take some time to make sure your room is tidy and calming and trust me – it will make a huge difference to your sleep and general mental health! Check out Marie Kondo’s “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”.
I’m sure that by now you’ve heard about the benefits of Mindfulness. Personally, I like the Headspace app which has sessions especially for falling asleep. It takes about 10 minutes and I’m rarely awake by the end. You might also want to try some gentle stretching before mindfulness – a quick YouTube search brings up plenty of options.
Keep a notebook and pen next to your bed
This is one of the tips that made the biggest difference for me.
Write down anything that is worrying you, any thoughts running through your head and anything you suddenly remember you need to do the next day. The act of writing these thoughts down will help relax you and you don’t need to worry about trying to remember anything you need to do.
Somehow the physical act of writing is more effective than putting reminders into your phone and it also means you can avoid looking at bright screens, social media and notifications.
Make your goal to relax and rest – not to sleep
If you’re struggling to fall asleep, stressing about it won’t improve things. Make your goal all about winding down and relaxing and you’ll take the pressure off yourself. As a result, you’ll be much more likely to fall asleep.
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