Did you ever set-up dominoes as kid? My friends and I would spend an hour stacking them just the right distance apart to create a satisfying wave of joy… just one piece out of place, though, and the whole chain would come to a disappointing halt – destroying the momentum that was created.
I’ve come to equate that concept with sleep. We can carefully set up all of the pieces for a healthy life: healthy foods, exercise, positive mental and emotional being, etc., but sleep is the domino that starts the whole wave and carries the inertia of positive change. Without it, the chain stops short. It’s impossible to be well without healthy sleep, especially if you are challenged by:
- Weight issues
- Feeling tired during the day or battling a foggy mind
- Lack of motivation
- Feelings of overwhelm over little things
- Irritability at work and at home
Life is busy and stressful. It’s easier to rely on caffeine, alcohol, energy drinks, diet pills, and herbal supplements to survive, but getting another hour of shut eye is free and it actually restores your body instead of covering up the problem. Bright eyes are better than concealer, energy to embrace the work day is much better than a caffeine jolt, and losing weight through healthy sleep is better than a diet pill any day.
Here’s the rub: “Getting Better Sleep” sounds easier than it is. Despite our best intentions for better sleep habits, we make choices that stack the dominoes against us every night. Why do we do that? How can we change? The answer is: one small step at a time.
Try just this one simple exercise this week, and it doesn’t even require you to change your habits. Commit to simply writing down how you spend your time after 7:30pm until you actually fall asleep. I suggest 15 minute increments. Be honest…you don’t have to show it to anyone.
I often tell myself “I don’t have time to get to bed earlier”, but somehow I justify that additional episode of my favorite show, one more chapter of my book, or that “quick” peruse through social media. It’s important not to judge yourself; simply record what you do each night. There’s no right or wrong, no need to justify anything to yourself or others. Simply write it down.
After a week, take a look and ask yourself: Can I find an additional hour of rest somewhere? Perhaps even three or four nights a week? Satisfying but destructive habits are hard to break, but the reward of a few extra hours of rest can show up as lost weight, brighter eyes, a sharper mind, a happier mood and the energy to face the day. It’s worth a try, don’t you think?
It’s as simple as writing it down. Start there…and open yourself to the domino effect of restful sleep in your life.