Getting Enough Sleep? Here’s how.

getting enough sleepSleep is important. I am pretty sure we can all agree on that.  Just as I’m pretty sure we can agree that you aren’t getting enough sleep.  Here are a couple of signs that will let you know:

  • You rely on an alarm clock to wake up every morning, rarely, if ever, waking on your own before it goes off
  • You need (and not just enjoy) that cup of morning coffee to get going or that mid-afternoon cup to give you a boost
  • You look forward to that weekend sleep-in not just as a luxurious treat at the end of a busy work week, but because you need those extra hours to ‘make up for lost sleep’ at the end of the week

Sound familiar?

Nearly half of people in North America report lack of sleep affecting their quality of life. Lack of sleep affects more than just your ability to get through the day or make it to the end of the work week though.

Within this Year of Transformation project, sleep is an important ingredient. If you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change.

That makes sleep an important ally in leading your life where you want it to go.  To make the best decisions, figure out how to solve challenges, best feel in control of your emotions, and be better equipped to cope with change, you need your rest.

In short, every single element of transforming from where you are to leading a life you love living is firmly rooted in being well rested.

According to the National Sleep Foundation (source), most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night to be well rested. If you feel well rested, productive, healthy and happy with only 7 hours a night, then that’s what to aim for.  If you need more sleep to feel this way, it’s up to you to honor what your body needs.

How to Get Enough Sleep

You’re likely aware of what the experts recommend to get enough sleep:

  • Stick to a sleep schedule, even on weekends.
  • Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual.
  • Exercise daily.
  • Evaluate your bedroom to make sure you have ideal temperature, sound and light.
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
  • Beware of hidden sleep stealers, like alcohol and caffeine.
  • Turn off electronics before bed.

Much like knowing the recommendations for getting enough exercise or drinking enough water, you probably already know all of this about getting enough sleep too.  But that doesn’t mean it’s happening.  There’s a question that’s important to ask when you are considering how to make sure you get enough sleep that isn’t in this list. Here it is:

What Are You Willing to Give Up?

You might never have thought of it this way before. What are you willing to give up to make sure you get enough sleep?

Your day is likely busy from the moment your feet hit the ground in the morning until the moment you lie down again at night.  If that’s true for you, then one of your barriers to getting enough sleep is likely the voice in your head saying ‘but there’s so much to do!’ or ‘I’m just going to do this one thing and then I’ll go to sleep’ or some variation on those themes.  Sound familiar?

In the face of your busy life, the question then becomes: what are you willing to give up in that busy day so you can make the time you need for sleeping?

Take a look at what you’re doing with your days. Is there something in your day that you can give up to get a good night’s rest? It doesn’t have to be something that you do at the end of the day. It could be time you’re spending in the morning or afternoon too.

Easy and obvious things you can give up are time on social media, watching TV or YouTube videos or gaming.  While these activities can be fun and relaxing, there is often the opportunity to do less of them throughout the day.

But what about the other stuff you do in life?

Examining what you do with your time from the perspective of ‘what can I give up’ gives you a powerful opportunity to look at what you are doing each day that is important and relevant to your life and what you are doing each day that really doesn’t contribute to the forward movement of your life…or worse yet, is actually holding you back.

When you look at those things, you may discover some parts of your life that you can spend less time in. You may discover some parts of your life that you can let go of completely. As you let go of these things, it creates time in your life to do more things that take care of you and create a life you love living. Things like sleep 🙂

Photo Credit: Jesse Therrien |

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Rachel is a coach supporting women to rediscover who they are beyond the *shoulds* of life. To create and live life on purpose.

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