Do you get tired in the afternoon? Do you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep? Do you use caffeine to boost your energy and alcohol to wind down? The amount of sleep you get will directly affect your ability to manage your life, your work and be happy.
The key to peak performance is energy. Managing your energy is crucial to your success in life. Whether it’s running a business or running your kids all over town, energy is required to make it happen and make it work. Sleep has been proven to be the number one source of our energy and unfortunately, we don’t take it seriously.
The Center for Disease Control says that insufficient sleep is a public epidemic.
Some 70 million people in the US have a sleep problem (National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute)
America’s adults average 6.9 hours of sleep each night, less than the seven to nine hours recommended by sleep experts (NSF 2005 Sleep in America poll)
One quarter of America’s adults, 47 million people, don’t get the minimum amount of sleep they say they need to be alert each day.
None of this should come as a great surprise. Many of us know that we are not getting enough sleep. The key is what do we do about it.
Awareness: Don’t underestimate the cost of getting too little sleep. Track your sleep, your productivity and mood for 14 days. This will give you insights into how your sleep is affecting your life.
Prioritize: Make sleep a priority. Stop working too late or too early. Rearrange your day so that you can get the sleep you need.
Routine: Tony Schwartz, the author of Be Excellent at Anything”, says you should take notice of your activities before bed. Set a regular bedtime. Begin to wind down at least 30-60 minutes before you turn out the lights and choose activities that are relaxing rather than stimulating. Put a pad and paper next to your bed. Before you go to sleep, write down anything you are worried about. If you wake up in the middle of the night, write more. Tony calls it “parking your anxieties” and it is a good way to calm your mind.
We are capable of so much more than we realize. Renewal of our bodies and minds will allow us to function at a high level and be productive. If someone told you that there is a magic plant that will allow you to reach your full potential, feel energized every day and be happy, you would probably fly to the ends of the earth and pay any price to get it. Well, sleep is your magic plant. The best part is that it’s easy to access and it’s free. Make a plan, make it a priority and then get the sleep you need. Your life depends on it.