Getting enough sleep is a vital part of being organized. If you head isn’t clear, you can’t plan, you can’t focus, and it’s hard to get anything done.
Besides messing with your ability to organize, lack of sleep makes it hard for you to learn and retain information, affects your judgment, and makes you more forgetful. It has a clear impact on many aspects of your health, messes with your immune system, can decrease your sex drive, and your skin ages faster. Studies have also found direct links between lack of sleep and depression. AND you are more likely to have an accident.
So how can you add some sleep magic to your life? Change your sleep habits.
Week #1: Track how much sleep you got in your planner
Do a quick sleep assessment each morning for a week. How many hours of sleep did you get? If you stayed up late, what kept you up? What woke you up early? Was your sleep restful or restless? Did you feel tired when you woke up or refreshed and ready for the day? Did you use an alarm to wake up?
At the end of the week, review your results.
Week #2: Experiment with ways to get more sleep and track the results
If you woke up tired most days in Week #1, try some of the steps below to change your sleep habits. Track the same data you did in Week #1 but include the change you made. At the end of the week, decide what habits worked best for you. Then try a third week of changed sleep habits. Then a fourth. 🙂 Is the fog lifting? Congratulations. You have new sleep habits and are going to feel much better for it.
WAYS TO CHANGE YOUR SLEEP HABITS
Go to bed earlier
Seems so simple. And it is.
Turn off the TV
Can’t go to bed earlier because you are watching TV (Netflix included!)? Turn off the TV and go to bed.
Bed = sleep
Now that you’re not watching TV and have gone to bed, don’t do anything crazy! Like start a mystery novel that you can’t put down. Or check your email on your phone.
Sleep in a comfortable bed
If your bed is uncomfortable in any way, invest in new one. You owe it to yourself to make the one-third of your life you spend sleeping a wonderful experience.
Find a pillow that works for you
Be pillow picky! You probably have different pillows around your house. Test different styles to find the firmness that works best for you. I have a favorite pillow I use every night and even take it with me when I travel. For road trips, I put it in a colored pillowcase so it sticks out from hotel pillows and I sleep like a baby no matter where I am.
Evaluate your blankets
If you tend to wake up cold or hot in the middle of the night, change the weight and number of blankets you use. We get in the habit of using the same bedding night after night, but if it isn’t working, try something new.
Occasionally you have to stay up late and a brief nap the next day is wonderful. But try not to nap on a regular basis. If you’re tired because you didn’t get enough sleep and you take a nap, you’ll most likely stay up late the next night – and need another nap. Cut the nap cycle and go to bed earlier.
Don’t compensate for lack of sleep with caffeine
There’s nothing nicer than a hot cup of coffee or tea in the AM, but if you are consuming a lot of caffeine, including high-energy drinks, you are messing with your natural rhythms and probably still feel tired, disorganized, and unfocused. Being tired is a clue. Don’t smash your body’s clues!
Dealing with restless nights
If you go to bed on time but wake up a few hours later with a thought you can’t let go of, put a pad of paper, pen, and flashlight by the bed. Then when you wake up with a thought, click on the light and write it down. Same with a bad dream. Wake up. Write it down to clear your head. And go back to sleep.
If you wake up with no particular thought in mind and are just awake, take a deep breath and thank the Universe for giving you time to ponder. Don’t watch the clock and fret over not being asleep. Just observe yourself. What are you like when you are awake in the middle of the night? Take another deep breath and lay there quietly. What does it sound like in the middle of the night in your house? What can you see? Feel the pillow. Feel the blankets. Take another deep breath. If anything pops into your head, jot down the thoughts. Then go back to sleep.
Clear off the bed
Do your kids or pets sleep with you? How’s that affect your sleep? A lot? Yes. I hate to be mean, but if you aren’t sleeping well, you may have to be an ogre and take back your bed.
Dim the lights
When you wake up in the middle of the night, do you have to squint because there’s light in your room? Dark is a trigger for us to sleep. If you can’t make your room darker, try using an eye mask. Or even simpler, put a king-sized pillowcase on your favorite regular-sized pillow and drap the loose end of the pillowcase over your eyes. This blocks a ton of light and there’s not strap around the back of your head like you have with an eye mask.
Earplugs are your friend
How quiet is your room? Are you sleeping with a snorer, around talking friends, or can you hear music playing? Invest in some earplugs. Even cheap ones block out most of the rumblings.
Make up for lost sleep
Studies show you can make up for lost sleep. If your time is tight during the week, try to add an extra hour of sleep on weekend days. If you are severely sleep deprived, you won’t catch up all at once, but adding one hour a night really helps. Once you are caught up, you will feel better and will find yourself sleeping less.
Getting enough sleep is a core element to being organized. Don’t minimize the importance and work to build better sleep habits. Sending you good sleeping karma! ZZZ.