Missed the first posts in this series? Check them out here.
#8 Sleep Restfully
Burning the candle at both ends might seem like it’s allowing you to be more productive, but usually it’s a very ineffective way to live. When you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re not able to be at the top of your game. As a result, you’re often not as inspired or creative — especially when it comes to blogging.
Case in point, not too long ago, I went for almost a week with zero inspiration to blog. I’d sit down to write and I felt like I had nothing to say. I had a lot of things I wanted to write and many different post ideas, but no desire to actually write the posts.
This is very out of character and I began to wonder what was wrong with me. Was I depressed? Was I just plain out of inspiration? Did I need to get my levels checked at doctor? I ran through just about every possible issue in my brain for a few days trying to figure out what could be wrong with me — and I kept coming up dry.
Finally, one night I got a really good night’s rest. And guess what? The next morning I was all inspired to write again!
I wasn’t depressed nor was there anything medically wrong with me; I was just tired. Without really even realizing it, I’d fallen behind on sleep — and it had caught up with me and sucked all the inspiration from me.
Yes, sleep really does make a difference when it comes to blogging (and many other areas in life, too!)
Go to Bed Earlier
The best way to guarantee that you get more sleep is to get to bed earlier. I know that night owls often despise this sort of advice, but whether you are a night owl or a morning person, you need to consider whether or not you’re getting enough sleep.
- Feeling exhausted when you wake up in the morning?
- Struggling to keep your eyes open after lunch?
- Hitting a productivity wall in the middle of the afternoon because you are feeling tired?
If any of these things are routinely happening to you, there’s a very good chance that you’re not getting enough sleep at night.
Training yourself to get to bed earlier so you can get a better night’s sleep can be hard. Find an accountability partner who will commit to earlier bedtimes with you (if you’re married, it’s fantastic if that accountability partner can be your spouse!) and then challenge yourself to stick with a realistic earlier bedtime for at least three weeks.
Gradually Teach Your Body to Adapt
Notice I said “realistic”? That’s really important.
If you usually go to bed at 1 a.m., don’t try to all of a sudden change to a 9 p.m. bedtime. Try slowly moving your bedtime by 30 minutes (or even 15 minutes) every few weeks until you hit on a time that works best for your body and your family’s routine.
Plan Ahead for Great Sleep
Great sleep doesn’t always just happen naturally, so do your best to plan ahead and prepare your environment to get the best night’s sleep possible. Here are a few suggestions:
- Wind Down Early – Start getting ready for bed at least an hour before your bedtime. This way, you’re helping your body to start winding down well before you need to be dozing off.
- Drink Less Caffeine — If you have trouble getting to sleep or going to bed earlier, try reducing your caffeine intake. Also, don’t drink caffeine after 3 p.m. (unless you’re like my sister, who finds that she goes right to sleep after she drinks a cup of coffee!)
- Turn Off the Electronics — Seriously, stop checking your email or social media in bed. The world (and you!) will survive just fine. And I promise you won’t get sucked into 30 minutes or an hour of mindless internet-hopping.
- Follow an Evening Routine — Go to bed near the same time every night, if at all possible. The more you can get your body into a rhythm, the better you’ll likely sleep at night.
- Prep the Environment — You might find that drinking a cup of Sleepytime tea, using essential oils, listening to relaxing music, reading, and/or Sleep Balm can help to enhance your sleep. Also, be sure to have a dark room, a comfortable temperature, and maybe even white noise.
If you’re having trouble actually getting to sleep, force yourself to focus on something simple like counting all the blessings you can think of. Or going through the steps of some certain task. Don’t let your mind wander to things that will excite you or camp on things that might worry you.
For more ideas and suggestions, check out the book, Sleep: It Does a Family Good.
Give Yourself Grace
You aren’t going to be able to get a good night’s rest every night. If you have a lot on your plate right now and there’s not much you can delete or delegate, sometimes you just have to power through and do the best you can do.
If you have insomnia, a newborn, a child with sickness or special needs, or other circumstances that are preventing you from regularly getting at least 7 hours of sleep at night, don’t let yourself feel frustrated. Sometimes the best lessons in life are learned from those really stretching, hard, difficult seasons.
As C.S. Lewis so aptly said, “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” So if you’re in one of those trying seasons, don’t give up. Get as much sleep as you can and press on — knowing that this difficult time won’t last for forever!
What tips & tricks help you get a great night’s sleep? I’d love to hear!