Do you remember the French nursery rhyme, “Are you sleeping, are you sleeping, Brother John, Brother John? Morning bells are ringing! Morning bells are ringing! Ding, dang, dong. Ding dang, dong.” The song is about a friar who has overslept when he is supposed to be up ringing the bells. The whole point is that the bells are not ringing, because Brother John, who is supposed to ring them, is sleeping.
I can relate to Brother John, who may have overslept because he had trouble getting to sleep in the first place, or woke up in the wee hours and then finally fell back asleep just before the morning alarm.
An important component of optimum health is sleep. Along with nutrition and exercise, good quality sleep is critical to perform at our best. Sleep has been one of those elusive things I have struggled with off and on during my adult life.
I remember one particularly frustrating stretch where it seemed I had gone weeks without adequate sleep, resulting in me dragging myself through my days. My sleep deprivation was causing me to feel hazy throughout the day, lethargic, and unable to focus for long periods of time. I decided it was time to take charge and figure out how to give my body the rest it needs.
When I began to research sleep, I felt a little better with the discovery that I was not alone in my sleep struggles. Lack of sleep is a common problem in modern society and will affect most people at some point throughout their lives. Occasional sleep disruption is normal, and generally no more than a nuisance, however ongoing lack of sleep is a bigger issue.
Once you realize that sleep is a problem for you, the first step is to begin keeping a sleep log. This is about measuring everything you want to improve (sleep included), which I discuss indepth in my book, The Success Lie. So, I started keeping track of my sleep; writing down how many hours I slept each night, and how rested I felt when I woke up. I kept my notes in a journal and used a sleep app.
Fixing my sleep took time. I made specific necessary changes, and eventually, my sleep pattern improved. I now have established a steady rhythm where I get regular, quality sleep. I created my own sleep disciplines to help keep me on track.
If you struggle with sleep issues, try these 10 tips for better sleep:
- Have a regular evening routine.
- Set a sleep and wake schedule.
- Make your bedroom your sanctuary.
- Shut off the electronics.
- Turn down the temperature.
- Block out the light.
- Block out sound.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Use essential oils.
- Check your hormone levels.
Sleep is an important component of optimum health. When you sleep better, everything is better. These simple tricks will help you get more sleep so that you can function at your best every day.