We live in a fast paced world where a constant stream of information is only a click away. As soon as the alarm clock rings we're trying to catch up on news we missed out on while we were sleeping. We're reading the stories on our commute to work, checking for updates in between classes and meetings, logging in to a live stream while cooking dinner, and scrolling through news feeds before we head off to bed.
Just because we can access all this information doesn't necessarily mean that we should. Our days are full of responsibilities, priorities, and whatever hobby (or habit) we can make time for. Inundating ourselves with this constant flow of information can leave us overstimulated and wired. When it comes time to get to sleep we're unable to - the after effects of trying to digest all this information is keeping us from getting the sleep we need to keep our bodies and minds running properly.
I was attempting to work two jobs and study full-time, all while running off four or five hours of sleep a night. Meanwhile, I noticed two things:
I was exhausted and very cranky.
The work I was putting out was absolute crap, which led to increased levels of crankiness.
Without a good night's sleep our physical, mental, and emotional health all suffer. Some key functions necessary for making it through the day such as concentrating, speaking, seeing, driving, and making logical decisions are all compromised when we don't get enough sleep.
Here are three ways to get to bed easier so you can get a better sleep:
1. Expend some energy
Sitting at a desk all day can make you feel tired, there's no doubt about that. You leave the office or the classroom and feel no desire whatsoever to work out. But studies show that engaging in physical activity during the day can help you have a better sleep at night. People who workout for only 20 minutes a day are more likely to have a better sleep at night and feel more alert the next day.
Exercise doesn't just help you get a better quality of sleep it also increases the amount of time you're able to sleep - no more rolling from side to side at 3 a.m. thinking of that project you have to submit by noon. Instead you'll be sleeping like a puppy (I find puppies sleep better than babies) and then waking up fresh so you can nail that project!
Exercise doesn't just help you get a better quality of sleep it also increases the amount of time you're able to sleep.
If you're feeling sluggish, this quick workout will give you an extra boost.
2. Write it down
There are times when I can't sleep because I'm obsessing about all the things I have to do. It's easy to build things up and make them appear more difficult or overwhelming than they actually are.
On Sunday nights I like to write down all the tasks I have to get done for the week. I list what's most important or has the nearest deadline at the top and then work my way down. Seeing what needs to get done is much less daunting than attempting to visualizing it all in my head. It helps me get a clear vision of what I need to do.
On Sunday nights I like to write down all the tasks I have to get done for the week.
Journaling is also a great way to get your thoughts in order. Some people like to write about what they accomplished during their day so that they can get a better grasp on what they need to get done tomorrow.
Whether it's a full page or a sticky note on the fridge, writing down your tasks can keep them off your mind so you can focus on getting a restful sleep.
3. Ask: What Would the French Do?
France recently passed a law which stipulates that work related emails cannot be sent outside of regular office hours. People are leaving their workplace but they're taking their work home with them, and this law attempts to alleviate some of the work-related stresses.
"All the studies show there is far more work-related stress today than there used to be, and that the stress is constant,” Benoit Hamon of the French National Assembly told the BBC. “Employees physically leave the office, but they do not leave their work. They remain attached by a kind of electronic leash— like a dog. The texts, the messages, the emails — they colonize the life of the individual to the point where he or she eventually breaks down.”
Employees physically leave the office, but they do not leave their work. They remain attached by a kind of electronic leash.
Before getting to the point of breaking down, simply put away your phone, close your laptop, and do something that doesn't involve a screen. Have a conversation with another human being, read a book, or let your head hit the pillow so you can drift off into a restful, deep sleep.
Remember, nothing ever really disappears from the Internet so those emails and news updates will still be there for you in the morning. But getting a good sleep will make it easier for you to deal with them.