“I’ll sleep when I’m dead”
“No rest for the wicked” “Resting is for the weak”
These are things I used to say quiet frequently. I used to hate sleeping because I believed I was bad at it (but actually I didn’t prioritise it). It use to take me 1-2 hours to get to sleep. I’d stay up as late as I could until I just passed out. I used to have nightmares on the reg and woke up usually pretty tired and relied on coffee or 12 (not kidding).
So mid 2018, after doing a little bit of self evaluation I realised I was missing one key ingredient to a radiating blissful life. Which was good quality and good quantities of sleep.
Let me take you back to when I was relying on those 12 coffees.
I was one thirsty fish. I was so dehydrated that I’d manage about 4+ litres of water a day & drink those 12 coffees. I was surviving off 4-5 hours sleep, working 12-13 hours and filling the rest of my time with anything but rest. This was the life I lived while mining, it was horribly unhealthy. I knew it too, but it’s the story I was telling myself, I thought that’s what life had to be.
So I decided to take on this initiative and learn how to sleep better, make it a priority and watch the improvement in myself. The improvement is pretty game chaining and I can’t believe I hadn’t done this earlier. I feel like the topic is totally underrated and it needs more education around it.
What happens when we sleep?
The body goes through a massive recovery, regeneration process from your nervous system, to your digestive system, to your muscular system, to your skeletal system, endocrine (immune) system, respiratory system, cardiovascular system, honestly the list is that long but you get it, that’s just the beginning.
Here’s a few of the nitty gritty important parts.
Your brain goes through all the things that happened during the day. This is where long term memory is stored. It sorts and stores the daily information.
Hormones are released for different functions including melatonin to help make you sleepy, growth hormones to grow and repair your tissue and leptin and ghrelin which control our hunger levels.
Your sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight mode) is able to relax so you can feel calmer during the day, happier and make better choices.
Your immune system releases cytokines that are able to fight off any inflammation or infection, enabling you to heal quicker.
What happens when we don’t get enough sleep?
We make bad/slow decisions. We crave sugar. We have a short attention span. We have trouble making decisions. We hold weight easier. We feel lethargic. We have a short temper.
Here are the steps I have taken to become better at sleeping.
Firstly, we have to stop saying ‘I hate sleeping”, “I’m the worst sleeper” and what ever else we can think of to avoid it. Because we all know, the things we tell ourselves is what we become. So I changed it to ‘I am getting better at sleeping every night”.
Secondly, set yourself a Go To Bed Alarm. Don’t get less than 7 hours. (Yes some people can do great on 6, but see if you can get 7+ hours).
Thirdly, set your scene.
Clean your room (allows your mind to switch off and relax), make it dark (helps melatonin release), write down anything your thinking of; to-do lists, feelings (allows mind to leave it for tomorrow). Make your room worthy of a good sleep.
Fourthly, change your habits.
Don’t have caffeine after 2pm (caffeine stays in your system longer than you think, 6-8 hours depending how sensitive you are). Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day to set your circadian rhythm (sleep/wake system). Turn your phone onto night mode and put it away within one hour of needing to fall asleep (also helps circadian rhythm).
I know I talk a lot about meditation, but only because I know everyone can benefit from it. Whether you think you don’t need it, don’t know how to do it, don’t have time. I truly believe that everyone should give it a go and make it a daily practice.
Those are the five ways I have improved my sleep and the quality of my life. I know that with a good sleep I am so much more happier, healthier and clear minded person so sleep is high on my priorities list.
Let me know which step you’re going to work on or what other things you do to set yourself up for a great snooze.
Love & Peace
Teags Lee x