I don’t know about you, but my life gets pretty busy sometimes. I’m not complaining, mind you, but I’ve got three beautiful kids, a wonderful husband, a career, pets…a home…jobs…friends…well, we all play plenty of roles in life.
Since I find myself so busy sometimes, I don’t get a lot of “quiet time,” as I’m sure you might imagine. And since I’m the sort of person who kind of needs a little quiet time each day, I often find that time by staying up late into the night, well after the family has gone to bed.
Some nights, I’m working. Other nights, I’m watching a favorite show on DVR–just so I can watch from beginning to end without interruption. Sometimes, I just don’t do anything at all. It’s all about having time to just breathe and be quiet.
So, that’s great, right?
Yeah, except that, in the process of trying to fulfill my need for quiet time, I’m cheating myself of something else that could potentially have a very serious impact on my happiness.
Because, of course, even though I stay up till the wee hours of the morning–I’m also a mom. And moms? They don’t get to sleep in.
So, what’s the big deal about sleep?
Well, besides the fact that lack of sleep can have serious consequences on your health–like increasing your risk for heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and even cancer–lack of sleep has been proven to have a profoundly negative effect on your mood and overall level of happiness.
Studies suggest that even adding one hour of sleep to your nightly schedule could improve your happiness quotient more significantly than a $60,000 annual raise–and that one of the top two reasons people find themselves in a bad mood at work was a poor night’s sleep.
And, according to the National Sleep Foundation, companies lose around $35 billion every year in loss of productivity, sick leave, medical expenses, and property and environmental damage–all thanks to their employees’ sleep deprivation. And the consequences some people face are even worse.
So what does all this mean?
Well, for me, it means I’ve got a conundrum here. I need quiet time, and I need to sleep. Yet, I have kids and a happily busy schedule during my waking hours. So this means that I need to figure out a way to get more sleep and still find time for myself.
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We’ve all got our challenges, and I guess one of mine is that I don’t always get enough sleep–which is unhealthy and can also affect my personal level of happiness in a big way.
And, since I know that I’m profoundly normal in this particular aspect of my life, I have put together the following list of tips from the experts on getting more sleep.
1. Quit drinking caffeine after 7 pm in the evening (or three hours before bedtime.) It sounds obvious for most, I’m sure, but I had to include this one because I’m guilty of sipping coffee in the evening hours on a pretty regular basis.
2. Get your exercise. Getting out and moving is not only a great way to increase your happiness in general, but it can significantly improve the quality and quantity of sleep. You’ll feel more like sleeping when you exercise–and you’ll sleep better.
3. Try EFT tapping. EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Technique or Emotional Freedom Therapy (depending on who you ask.) The technique involves a series of acupressure, wherein you tap certain points on your body to create specific effects–including improved sleep, among other things.
4. Try not to eat three hours before bedtime, and especially snacks that involve grains or sugars. Why? Because grains and sugars will raise your blood sugar, giving you lower quality sleep. And, doctors say, when the blood sugar drops later, you could wake up and have trouble falling back asleep.
5. Sleep in darkness. Ok, I admit it, I’m guilty of sleeping with the bathroom light on and the TV tuned to a random sit-com. I could go into the reasons I do this and why it works for me, but that wouldn’t be helping either of us get more sleep. According to researchers, even a small amount of light in your bedroom can disrupt your circadian rhythms, as well as your body’s production of melatonin and serotonin, which help to naturally induce and enhance restorative sleep. So, they recommend, sleep without lights or television (which also stimulates the brain and can reduce your chances of a good night’s sleep.)
So how about you? Do you find yourself giving up sleep to accommodate your busy schedule? What are your top tips for getting more or better sleep? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section, below!