Let’s talk about sleep. I don’t think I need to write a book on the benefits. No doubt we’ve all felt the difference between a solid night and a cruddy one. Even the American Heart Association has recently added restful sleep to their essential list of heart disease fighters. It’s not rocket science for sure, so why do so many people struggle to get their Zzzzs? I’m sharing my experience here in the hopes that you find yourself with some extra spring in your step tomorrow morning.
I turn into a pumpkin at 9pm – always have, always will. My night owl husband has gotten used to it, thankfully. My bedtimes and waking times have always been reasonable.
I was still waking up exhausted.
Shortly before my family left for their summer adventure, I downloaded a sleep app* that listens to me at night. A trend quickly appeared that I didn’t expect.
I wasn’t even cracking 5.5 hours of actual sleep on any night, and the deep stuff was eluding me entirely.
Work and stress were infiltrating my ability to rest. Burnout was looking me dead in the face and I know I’m not alone.
Self-care means YOU take care of you… and humans are all different. The following list is just what worked for me. Try some things and see what works for you.
- Shut work down at least three hours before bedtime. Don’t look at your email again until the morning.
- Don’t read work-related articles or peruse LinkedIn on your phone after you’ve shut work down. While it’s not technically “work”, they still keep those work thoughts going.
- Do something enjoyable that chills your brain out from the day. Hang with your family, read a book, play a game, cook/bake, listen to music, take a stroll, watch the sunset. Just breathe.
- Stop drinking at least two hours before bedtime. Overnight potty breaks give our brains an opportunity to fire up unnecessarily.
- Keep your evening meal light and early. Let your food get well into the digestive process. Avoid any potential acid and discomfort from fullness. Tossing turns into thinking.
- Meditate before going to sleep. Full body scan relaxation is my fave.**
- Put the electronics down. (I readily admit I’m far from perfect at this.)
I’m now routinely getting 8+ hours of sleep and spending many hours in the deep sleep zone. I’m ready to run at work instead of my former sloth-like trudge. My family sees a difference in our evenings too. Win-win.
Join me in the good sleep club. Zzzzzzzzzzzz
*I use the free version of Sleep Cycle (icon is orange w. white alarm clock). I did a free trial of the premium version, but unless you want to hear the recording of yourself snore (ugh) or the owl that perched on your bedroom fireplace chimney at 3am (go hoot somewhere else), you don’t need it.
**My daughter and I use the Calm app (premium version) religiously for meditation and white noise.
Karen Evers, SPHR, Fractional Chief HR Officer
Karen is passionate about people!
Throughout her career, Karen has been mentored by strong HR leaders that showed her that there are bright, strategic ways to see businesses through a "people lens" - or a belief that human leadership starts with understanding human behavior and motivation.
Over her career, she was on a mission to recruit, coach, develop, and learn from great leaders of people.
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