My blog is devoted to sharing personal development tools, techniques and tips that will inspire you to create a growth mindset, build resilience and manage your world more effectively.
You may feel in the depths of exhaustion but, frustratingly, the moment you get into bed you are unable to sleep. You simply lay there, wide awake reviewing all the things that happened throughout the day and how on reflection you would have done it differently. Then you move onto the list of things you’ve got to do tomorrow and your brain just won’t switch off.
You try counting sheep, taking deep breaths and maybe even attempt to watch a movie to try and drift off but everything fails. You remain wide awake mentally, but physically you’re feeling the effects of the impending sleepless night.
The pressures of our world, coupled with the constant distraction of the easily accessible, on-demand nature of our environment, make it very hard to switch off. Add that to the constant internalised pressures of not feeling like you’re doing a good enough job in all areas of your life and you have a recipe for slumber disaster.
We all know we need to have quality sleep, so how do we get our minds to have a rest during the hours of darkness and allow us to drift off peacefully and stay asleep?
Well….everyone is different and our ‘busy’ lives and worries are the root cause of most challenges related to a disturbed sleep (apart from children, they add their own sleep challenges to your mix).
From observing many conversations over the years, I also get the impression that we often don’t give sleep the respect it deserves. We almost consider sleep a luxury not a necessity, and the impact it’s having on the function of our brain is quite crucial.
To achieve success in waking life, it is vital to have success in sleep.
I’ve always been told that I wasn’t a good sleeper as a baby and that pattern has followed me into adulthood. Admittedly there are phases when I sleep incredibly well, yet there are also painful times when I do not. Anyone who struggles to sleep well, will understand the frustration and impact of poor sleep on the way you feel for days on end.
Even my skin and my ability to choose a suitable outfit for the following day suffers, and when your job is to inspire others to do better and reach their peak performance, the way I dress (well at least co-ordinate) and how I present myself really does matter.
What I realised I had done, was create a belief that I was a bad sleeper and almost found myself playing up to this belief. For example, if I woke during the night, I would only allow myself about 10 minutes to fall back to sleep. If that didn’t happen, I gave in, got up and did something un-resourceful all the while telling myself, I’m just a bad sleeper (great way to install that belief Nicole!)
I also must use eye masks and ear plugs to drown out the ambient noise of the waking world. Yoga before bed really supports in calming my wired mind, and a nice hot bath assists in inducing relaxation. I also have my phone programmed to switch to night-shift from 9pm-7am, this function simply reduces the levels of blue light emitted from the screen, which is known to play havoc with our circadian rhythms and negatively impact sleep.
The final thing I do before settling down for the night is take 5 dedicated minutes to prepare my to do list for the next day and get any stray thoughts captured, this helps manage the anxieties which always seem to heighten just as you drift off.
My suggestion to improve sleep well-being is find a routine that works for you and ensure you do it every night, try out some of my go-to nightly habits and keep an eye out on my Instagram page this week for a book about sleep that I highly recommend you read. It will change your sleep for the better!