Sleep used to be one of those things that I took for granted. Before I was diagnosed with autoimmune disease, I often felt that sleep was what got in the way of productivity. "I'll sleep when I'm dead" was a habitual mantra and even as a child, I hated taking naps. But now, now that I have learned how to heal adrenal fatigue, I view sleep as an essential part of a healthy lifestyle.
This past weekend at the World Domination Summit I was reminded how much I have grown to love sleep, and how much it affects me when I don't get enough. It's so easy to get carried away by all the things-to-do and people-to-see/meet at something like this. You see, even when I was a child, I was afflicted with FOMO syndrome (Fear Of Missing Out)! I hated taking a nap or going to bed before the adults because I was afraid I would miss out on something fantastic! At WDS, FOMO was at full throttle!
Of course riding the inspiration high, I fully expected to be writing in my journal or reading one of my new books the entire flight home. My body said otherwise: just after lift off out of Portland, I was out! Mind you, this was an afternoon flight, no red-eye; only to wake when the wheels touched down on the runway.
I used to be one of those that had a very difficult time falling asleep. I'd lay awake for hours toiling through the thoughts of today, tomorrow, things I didn't want to forget or trying to solve problems. My husband, on the other hand (*jealous*), can be 0-dreaming in about 2.4s once he hits horizontal (which is as fast as the latest Bugatti Veyron going 0-60mph, but I digress). But over time, I have trained myself to have better sleep. Here are the tips that worked for me. If you have trouble with sleep, perhaps some of these will work for you!
- Good sleep is a habit: So try to keep the same bed time and wake time each day of the week, even on weekends or days off.
- Go to bed earlier. If you are like me and know it takes you a while to fall asleep, start being in bed 30-60 minutes earlier than the time you want to be asleep.
- Make the room as dark and quiet as possible. Some people use black out curtains. I made sure any alarm clock lights were turned as low as possible, and I use an eye mask (helpful if you travel). I also use earplugs to sleep in so that I'm not easily wakened by sounds.
- Limit use of bright light or electronics a few hours before bed. When my health practitioner suggested this as one of the ways to help adrenal fatigue, I thought the idea was crazy. However, bright light (blue spectrum) stimulates our brain which then triggers hormones for daytime activities. After trying this for a few weeks, I really notice the difference its had on my ability to fall asleep faster.
- Geek out! For those of you who like to geek out on all kinds of data, get a device to help you track your sleep. I have a FitBit Flex which helps me track steps during the day and sleep patterns at night. Keep in mind, most devices are not going to tell you how many minutes you spent in REM sleep - that takes a sophisticated sleep clinic to do that - but the technology is getting closer .
How do you ensure you get a good night's sleep? I'd love to hear about your experiences regarding sleep in the comments!