January is the perfect time of year to discuss new beginnings and consider different ways to improve our lives. Many, if not all of you, have made some form of resolution regarding your personal health and happiness. While diet, exercise, and mental health tend to be top priorities when it comes to improvements, there’s one area that people tend to forget—the importance of sleep.
In today’s constant struggle to do more with less time, there is a huge temptation to stay up late or wake up early to get things done. Those with small children relish these quiet peaceful moments as they might be the only moments of the day where a mom can spend time with her own thoughts without being interrupted.
Don’t get me wrong, I applaud any and all attempts to take time to reach goals. However, if you are sacrificing your sleep in order to do so you could be hurting yourself in the long run. Having a late night or early morning here and there is fine. But, having them all the time will wear you down. The more often you go without good sleep, the longer it will take you to complete tasks. Something that would take you fifteen minutes of effort might now take thirty. See where I’m going with this? Getting good sleep will actually save you time because you’ll be able to finish the things you need or want to do easier, faster, and with less frustration.
Here’s an easy guide to get the perfect amount of sleep
If you are always struggling to wake up in the morning or fall asleep at night, then it’s time to figure out how many hours of sleep your body actually needs. Most people do not get enough sleep in general so it might seem silly or even selfish to do this at first.
Step 1: Figure out what time you need to wake up in the morning and then subtract eight hours from that time. This is when you should be turning the lights off and trying to go to sleep.
Step 2: Minimize external factors. During this time, reduce or eliminate the amount of caffeine you consume during the day, avoid naps, and exercise earlier in the day.
Step 3: Pay attention to your body. Was it difficult to go to sleep earlier? Did you wake up before the alarm clock went off or feel dead to the world instead?
Step 4: Adjust! If you found it was easy to fall asleep and you woke up a few minutes before the alarm, then you have figured out your ideal amount of sleep. However, if you struggled to fall asleep and/or struggled to wake up at the right time in the morning, something needs to change. Move bedtime forward or backward until you find the perfect fit. Don’t fall into the temptation to sleep in as this will throw off the schedule you are working so hard to create.
I forgot how red lights worked
Having a new baby in the house means lots of lost sleep. With my kiddos, we were already struggling with getting good sleep when baby three joined the mix. After a few months of literally not getting any deep sleep, I didn’t realize just how tired I was until I was driving home from the library and forgot how to navigate a right turn. I sat at the light and couldn’t remember where I needed to be looking to see if it was safe to enter the intersection. Thankfully the intersection wasn’t busy and nothing happened, but it was a turning point in creating a better sleep schedule for myself and my family. I’ve been much more aware of my sleep needs from that day forward.
Discuss – When was the worst moment you found yourself sleep-deprived? Tell us below!