Sleep – Your Secret Worker
We spend time building excellent IT teams, learning new skills, and growing our network. But do we stop to think about sleep? Here are some quick tips based on tons of research to help you get the most out of your day including the time that you are asleep.
Wake up when the sun comes up.
Get in to the habit of getting to bed early enough that you naturally wake up when the sun comes up. 8 hours of sleep is ideal. Depending on the time of year, your time zone, and how close you are to the equator, this could change a bit. Try to wake up 5:30-6:30. The goal is to get your body into the habit so well that you do not have to set an alarm. You naturally feel fully rested and wake up automatically.
Set Your Routine
Do what feels right – good – natural. Your body has been asleep and not in motion for many hours. You will want to get your mind and body going. Hydration is #1. Wake up and drink up. Water of course. Take a little bit of time to discover where you are at. Are you happy? Are you moving slow? Are you worried about a project you have to work on today? Are you still thinking about some news from last night? Take a few moments to become aware. Depending on what feels good to you, your early morning should consist of the following:
- Reflecting – light meditation, consciousness
- Movement – exercise as much or as little as it feels comfortable to you but make sure you get up and MOVE
- Eat – Carbs in the morning. Caffeine is fine this early too.
During the day, you will be working hard to create and achieve your goals. Take a few moments to break, breathe, and clear your mind.
When eating or snacking, try not to consume caffeine after noon 1 or 2 at the latest.
Music – Music is very therapeutic. Take a moment to include music (either while you are working or on the drive home).
Get home, family time, eat. Do all of your normal things. Here are your evening goals to make sure that you have the best opportunity to get the sleep you need to repeat again tomorrow.
- Decompress – Do what you like. Slow down. Laugh. Meditate, yoga, lay on the couch, whatever it is.
- Set your sleep time. For our example I will use 10pm. The following relates to going to bed at 10pm.
- 8pm Curfew – No eating after 8pm. No computers, ipads, phones, tvs after 8pm. If this is impossible, you will at least want to try to lower the blue light in your device either by extensions and apps or by wearing orange tinted glasses.
- Snacking – Your last snack should be a food high in magnesium such as: dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, whole grains, avocados, yogurt, bananas, and dried fruit. Magnesium will help you sleep more content and not wake up as often in the middle of the night.
- Carb vs. Fats – Eat your high carb foods earlier in the day and the high fat and protein foods later in the day.
Blackout curtains are key. Kick the tv out of the bedroom. Keep a notepad by your bed so if you have an urge to grab your phone, you can jot down your thoughts and ideas instead and deal with them the next day. Earplugs are great if noise distractions often wake up. Determine what temperature is best for you; cool or warm.
If you can maintain this pattern, you can achieve optimal sleep and optimal sleep will lead to more productive days and better clarity to perform well in everything you set out to do.