I am the best sleeper I know. Ask anyone that knows me well….my family, my friends, ask my co-workers who I often travel with. When it’s time for sleep, there is no compromise. I’m not embarrassed. I make no excuses, no apologies. I just sleep well – peacefully – deeply – habitually.
It has always been easy for me, but I have also cultivated some habits throughout my life that have helped me become the A+ zombie-slayer sleeper that I am. I’ve also learned a few lessons along the way, and these were valuable. Here is my list of how to go from being a sleep-deprived zombie to a zombie slayer – ready to take on anything:
- Early to rise. This is a habit that can take some time, but get your butt out of bed early. I get up at 4:30 almost every day – I drink my quart of water, do a few sun salutations, stretch, poop, and either meditate or just contemplate. Getting up early gives me the “me” time I crave. I am an extreme introverted-extrovert. I love being “out there” – in charge of the world, but I must, I repeat – I MUST have “me” time that involves me and my thoughts without expectations or an agenda. Me time. Best part of the day. And then off I go to either teach yoga or go for a run – or both. Everything we do in life is a habit. It may be difficult to get up early, so go for the B-. Make a plan and celebrate one day at a time.
- Work like a beast during the day. I believe in hard work. I’m a fundraiser which means if I do not work hard, I fail. Again, no compromises. Work, work, work…..it’s for a good cause, so although the stress can get to me sometimes, I have learned to breathe and keep it in perspective. You may be thinking – “great, but that’s not my life….I’m a stay-at-home-mom, or a postal worker, or (fill in the blank)” – it does not matter what you do for a living – just work hard, play hard and wind yourself down so you are tired at night.
- Don’t watch TV. Just don’t do it. I’m very fortunate to have been raised in a home where TV was not allowed for the most part. My parents owned a TV but it was on only after permission was granted. My dad would often turn on the “boob tube” with no sound and fall asleep watching a baseball game or golf (oh my gosh – have you ever watched golf on TV……zzzzzzzz ~ now there is a way to get a good nap). The blue light from TV is awful and the constant input and bombardment and overstimulation is awful. Give it up. Throw it away. Walk away. Just don’t watch TV. If you are hooked, record your favorite zombie show, give yourself a time-allowance for TV and stick to it. The less stimulation and noise in your head in the evening, the better. If you allow the chatter of a TV into your brain, you’re as dead as a zombie. Please don’t be offended. Just turn the stupid thing off and walk away. Play chess, read a book, read to your kid, make some broth for tomorrow, oil massage your feet, do yoga, go for a long walk with your spouse, weed the garden, dust your furniture, write in your journal, draw pictures, color in a coloring book…..just please, for crying out loud, TURN THE BOOB TUBE OFF. Quiet the mind. Slow down. Breathe. Calm……
- Don’t do a hard workout before sleep. If you run in the evening, switch it up. Try it at another time during the day. Experiment. Journal the results. It will likely make a difference.
- Your time on the pillow is the most personal, intimate, quiet “me time” that you have in your life. The only people or thoughts allowed in your head when pillow time arrives, are those people and thoughts that YOU allow in. This is where I excel. Stress, you are NOT welcome. Difficult people, you are NOT welcome. Yesterday, you are NOT welcome. Tomorrow, you are NOT welcome. It is up to YOU who and what is allowed on your pillow. Set rules. Hard rules. You are not shooting for a B- here. Sleep is where you want to work for an A. Keep a notebook by your bed if you’re constantly bothered by thoughts of what you need to do or things you need to remember. Write them down and sleep. If I am bothered by a thought, I tell it “YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE”. Does that sound weird? Probably – but try it. Set the rule. Be firm. No compromises. Go for the A. Do not allow thoughts and stress to join you during pillow time.
When we are sleep deprived, our physical being and all of our interactions and reactions to the world are strained. We are red-eyed, exhausted, walking around bumping into things – we are zombies. You can control this. You write your own rules – so write them now (actually write them down), be firm with yourself. It takes practice but you can do it. Be the zombie-slayer….save yourself and learn to sleep.
If you want to learn more or have a chat, reach out to me. I will be leading an 11-week Healthy Habits course beginning in March 2018. I’d love to have you on this journey with me as we work to evolve and align our habits to make our lives better, filled with sleep ~ zombie-free. This is my promise to you.