If you had to miss our last seminar on sleep but are looking to learn more about sleep, and particularly a way to improve your sleep, you're in the right place. Sleep is majorly important. Think about how much sleep you need versus how much you do any other singular task in a 24-hour period. A work day is about the only thing that rivals that amount of hours dedicated to doing just one "thing". For all of you moms, dads, caretakers, and small business owners out there, I do understand that you don't really turn that responsibility off; so, consider this as everything outside of those roles : ). While you don't "turn off" these responsibilities, you also don't get another set of time to pursue healthy living. Meaning, you must find your way to a healthy living in the midst of this set of circumstances we've chosen to prioritize in life.
We start with the change we can control by personally living the best version of life we can live and then hope we get to experience the improved domino affect of this version of life with our family, community and world. Every day we create change with our presence in the world; therefore, we also decide if that will elevate our world or make life just a little more difficult for ourselves and everyone else around us. If healthy bodies (and minds, emotions, spirts, etc.) necessitate a certain amount of sleep and you're choosing not to, you are likely missing the stimulus of optimized and healthy living. So, let's stop missing out on the best parts of life because we're too tired to be present. Sleep is one way we can elevate our overall life experience. We talk about the other 4 factors of health in the gym and here in the journal; so, feel free to engage those as well when you've gotten sleep to a better place. Let's start by talking about some sleep basics as it pertains to our specific goal here to create a sleep routine/schedule that will help you best fill in the worksheet and begin implementing it into your life.
1. A sleep schedule/routine prepares your body for sleep. While the human body is wildly complicated in the way it works, it's also highly trainable. By repeating a set of habits our bodies will do what they can to survive - meaning it will do all of the work while we effectively work against it if necessary, but many complications can come from this choice of lifestyle. The kind of complications I hope you're not accepting as just part of aging are things like: serious illness, injury, lethargy, obesity, and lack of vitality. These are largely avoidable if we'll put distance between us and sickness by pursuing fitness in all 5 factors of health.
2. You need to sleep 7-9 hours a night. Everyone is unique; so, you will need to find for yourself what your optimal hours of sleep are in that 7-9 hour window. Our bodies are amazing and we do A LOT in a day. Therefore, there are many processes that need to happen for your body to restore itself and have energy for the next day. It's okay if you have room to work on that. That's likely why you're reading this article. So, let's work on it. If you're currently getting 5 hours, let's set a goal to achieve 5.5 hours nightly this month and increase that over time.
3. You will need to spend additional time in bed to actually achieve your goal. Even with the addition of a sleep routine, you will still need time to actually fall asleep. So, as you're thinking about creating your schedule, add about 30 minutes to your identified sleep need. For example, if your goal is to sleep 8 hours and you need to get up at 7am, you will need to be in bed by 10:30pm to set yourself up for success.
4. Consistent sleep/wake time is key. Just like our sleep routine lets our body know it's time to sleep, we can alert our body that it's time to begin the processes that happen at rest by simply going to sleep and waking up around the same time every day. Our digestion (another thing happens more often than other activities in the day) happens at rest, particularly the sleeping period of rest. This is just one example of why working on sleep is more important than you may have previously realized.
5. Read our April Newsletter and Kelsey's Journal article on sleep for more insights on sleep and why you should do it. ☺️
How to complete the worksheet:
1. Identify your sleep/wake time and the amount of sleep you need.
2. Identify your start time; so, you can begin with the "60 minutes" section of the worksheet.
3. Read the list of habits/practices and select those that you already do/implement some new ones. (don't be afraid to try something new because it may end up being the practice that makes the most difference)
4. Fill in the schedule with the appropriated time it will take you to do each habit/practice you've chosen.
4. Tell the people you live with so they can at the very least not impede your completion of this sleep routine goal.
5. Tell a close friend who can help keep you accountable.
Attached, you'll find the worksheet I designed to aid you in creating a routine and implementing that into your daily schedule. The photo you see is just a screen shot for reference as you're reading. To actually fill out the worksheet, download the PDF, and get to work! Comment below and let me know if this was helpful! I am confident this can improve your sleep and in turn enhance the rest of life. Thanks for reading this article! For more on sleep, check out Kelsey's recent journal on sleep as well as our April Newsletter!