I used to struggle with insomnia and couldn’t fall asleep naturally. There was always a task that kept me up late. Something always bothered me all throughout the night. Not to mention my obsessive thoughts that I couldn’t shush up or shut off. My phone would be a few inches from my head, you know, in case someone needed something. Over time, I had to draw boundaries with myself, and stop being so available. Thanks to the Internet, it’s nearly impossible to be unavailable, but setting boundaries are crucial for your well-being. Night time should be for preparing your mind and body for sleep.
As an entrepreneur, however, I was always on, on, on twenty-four-seven. Some nights, I’d pull what people at my college would say, all-nighters to finish work or projects. I’d say; what’s one lost night of sleep going to do anyways? A lost night of sleep affects people in more ways than one. Multiple studies have shown that missing as much as one night can alter your brain’s chemistry. One of those ways has to do with decision making — it becomes impaired.
Next thing you know, you’re operating and responding to people in an emotionally charged manner. When I dealt with insomnia, I experienced cognitive delays, impulsively acted upon situations both socially and professionally, and was not very articulate in general. Sleep deprivation hindered my creativity, which led to creative blocks. And worse, a restless night induces anxiety, leading to irritability. The work I enjoyed suddenly turned into a battlefield where I fought against my lacking energy level, dealt with outbursts of anger or frustration, and overwhelming exhaustion.
So, when someone said to me, “All of the healing happens when we sleep,” I began restructuring the way I spent my evenings. Whether you live with or without health conditions, skipping nights of sleep will jeopardize your health, and over time, insomnia affects your heart, organs, and your mental and emotional well-being. Now that you know the consequences of lost sleep, here are the three mindset shifts that kicked my insomnia to the curb, and gave me a new perspective on the significance of a good night’s rest.
Everything will be there Tomorrow
That phrase, everything will be there tomorrow, helped me unplug and say yes to vitality. It applies to everything: work, projects, your job, and your phone! It has become a regular habit now to move my cell phone to another room come 8:00 at night. Establishing an evening, sleep hygiene regimen will help you create healthy habits. Naturally, you’ll begin putting yourself first, and that’s not selfish; it’s essential. The next time you find yourself unable to put your phone down at night, say that phrase to yourself like a mantra: “Everything will be there tomorrow.” Repeat it if you must.
Vitality and Longevity
People who get a good night of rest are setting themselves up for longevity and vitality. At night when you sleep, your body heals and replenishes. Every time I hear people say, “I’m good on four, five or six hour of sleep!” I say, “Your body is not!” At least nine hours of sleep will ensure the highest quality of life, and you’ll live longer.
In my evening routine, I’d remind myself that sleep heals. Every night as I worked towards ending my insomnia, I’d repeat that to myself. Many studies (countless) show that less than six hours of sleep a night can eventually result in heart disease (or heart attacks), diabetes, and high blood pressure to name a few. While the body replenishes, it’s also easing inflammation anywhere in your system. Adequate shut-eye time is critical, and drastically reduces stress, anxiety, and depression.
In my perspective, how you conduct your evenings and how much sleep you get will impact the quality of life. It’s healthy to draw boundaries, not only with people in the world, but also yourself. By drawing boundaries with yourself, I mean, say no to the things that jeopardize your well-being, despite the challenge in doing so. After I had made those three mindset shifts, everything health-wise improved, and I never took sleep for granted again.
Originally published at medium.com