I need 9 hours sleep a night. I’ve tried less, convincing myself that I can still keep going with less, but I can’t. I become grouchy, less productive, more stressed and I’m just not a nice person to be around. I can, if there is a party or social event have one night with less sleep, but long gone are my days of parties every night. At home with my pyjamas on and an early night is now my idea of bliss.
I came to understand and value the importance of sleep whilst studying for my Psychotherapy and Hypnotherapy qualification. I had already completed my BSc in Psychology, but this course felt like a missing piece of the puzzle and I wanted to add more value to my coaching clients, so I found the course and loved it. It was the Neuroscience behind it all that particularly interested me, and how, without sleep, which is needed to empty our stress bucket each day, we can feel stressed, anxious, depressed and not function as we should have.
It was of course obvious when I realised it, but seriously up until this point, I had tried to convince myself that I didn’t need sleep. That sleep was the one thing I could go without, or have less of, because work, socialising, exercise or basically anything else in life was more important.
As a mum of twin sons I had gotten used to less sleep, I thought I was just destined to feel exhausted for the rest of my life, but no, I wasn’t. And sleep was actually needed, and was one of the most important things I needed to do.
I began to prioritise my sleep, and I noticed an almost immediate change in all areas of my life.
So how do I make sure I get my 9 hours?
No chemicals — No caffeine (although I avoid this anyway), no chocolate, no alcohol, nothing that will increase my heart rate. Just water at least two hours before bed.
No devices — All phones, social media, laptops, tablets etc are turned off at least two hours before bed. The noise can stay going round in my head for hours and I switch off physically so that I can actually switch off when I go to bed. I also don’t have any electronics in any of the bedrooms in the house. No TV’s, no computers, at all.
Journalling — I journal every night. It helps me get the thoughts and feeling out of my head. Before I started doing this I would find I had thoughts and the endless to-do list going round in my head as soon as my head hit the pillow and I would then struggle to sleep. Journalling allows me to get the good, the bad, the learnings and the feelings out of my head and onto paper, and once it’s out, it’s out.
Gratitude — Once in bed, I list all I am grateful for in my life today. It’s a great way to end the day and usually I find myself laying with a smile on my face as I think of all I have in my life.
Reiki — I’ve found that the more I do this the less I need to do it each day, but after practicing my gratitude, if needed, I will then do some self-healing Reiki to unblock, clear and balance any physical blocks that I may be holding onto.
And I wake up 9 hours later feeling refreshed, calm and relaxed ready for the day ahead.
Kelly Swingler is Founder of Chrysalis Consulting, a non-conventional HR consultancy, The Chrysalis Foundation, building the confidence of teens and She Found Her Wings, working with High Performing Women. Kelly was appointed as the UK’s Youngest HR Director, is mum to twin boys, and loves Yoga and cycling.
Originally published at medium.com