If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know how much I stress the importance of a good night’s sleep. Whether you are trying to increase your productivity, decrease your stress, or lose weight, sleep deprivation will stand in the way of your success.
Sleep experts recommend creating a consistent bedtime routine, shutting down technology at least an hour before bedtime, avoid napping or caffeinated beverages after 4 PM, and keeping your bedroom devoid of clutter and work related items to aid with getting quality sleep.
But what happens if you’ve consistently applied all the suggestions, but you get into bed and still can’t drift off? Or, you conk out instantly, only to be up a couple of hours later, unable to fall back asleep.
It’s disturbing, frustrating and down right exhausting. I know- I used to be there. I can remember a time when I was experiencing this way too often.
I’ve always known that I need at least 7, and preferably 8 hours of sleep each night, and I’ve always been a pretty good sleeper. But shortly after starting my business, my sleep patterns started changing- and not for the better.
I would get into bed tired from a full day, expecting sleep to come quickly. Instead, my mind would race with all the things I needed and wanted to do the next day; or had left incomplete from that day. Sometimes, I would fall out immediately from sheer exhaustion, only to wake a couple of hours later with my thoughts racing.
Mind chatter would keep me awake, and no matter how much I willed myself to fall back asleep, it wasn’t happening. Many nights, I would get out of bed and go into my home office to write myself a note. Sometimes I would do this more than once. Not exactly conducive to a good night’s sleep.
I was baffled and starting to freak out a bit. Tired all the time, it felt as if one of my worst fears- insomnia- was a new friend. I knew I had to come up with a solution. When I did, it was so simple I couldn’t believe it eluded me for so long.
The inability to fall asleep is our way of protecting ourselves from forgetting important thoughts. Things like the call we didn’t make today that must be done first thing tomorrow or the bill that has to be paid the next day to avoid late charges. Or the fabulous new idea that can help move our business forward. Why oh why does it seem our creative brains turn on in the middle of the night, rather than when we are facing our computer screens?
I had the right idea going to write them down, but the execution didn’t make sense. Getting out of bed and turning on the light made it more difficult to drift back to sleep once back in bed.
So I got myself a pad, and found a pen with a light on it- enough to illuminate the paper, but not flood my room, my husband and my brain with too much light, and started keeping them on my nightstand. Once I began writing those thoughts down without getting out of bed, I found myself falling asleep, or back to sleep, easily. I released my brain from the responsibility of holding on to the info. Pretty simple, right. Solutions to problems don’t need to be complicated. They just need to be effective.
If you can relate to this scenario, here’s your action step for this week. Head to Staples or Office Max, and get yourself a lighted pen, or order the cool Nite Note Pad from Amazon shown below. Place it and a pad on your bedside table. The next time “don’t forget” thoughts are keeping you awake, try writing them down. I think you’ll be amazed at how much this helps. For me, I’ve broken up with insomnia- it just wasn’t a good relationship.