On the merry-go-round of productivity versus sleep deprivation, working too much leads to less productivity, leads to less sleep, and so on. There are many ways to function productively, but sleeping less isn’t one of them.
Almost half of the American population reports a lack of sleep interferes with their life at least once a week.
We have been told our entire lives that sleep is essential. Only recently did scientists discover that sleep helps clear out the toxins of the day from our cells and brains. While this information is a great way to encourage readers to get a good night’s sleep, it isn’t the only reason to sleep well.
“The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep.” —E. Joseph Cossman
When we rest, our brains do clear out toxins, but it also helps us become more alert and helps ensure fewer mistakes at work. Being alert can also help us become more creative and help us think of better solutions for any issues that may arise.
Many other reasons can be named on why sleep is one of the best ways to maintain a productive work environment, but finding out how to get (and stay asleep) will help you increase production at work as well. Sleeping six to eight hours can be hard when you have had a busy day and your brain wants to move forward while your body tells you it’s time to rest.
“Without enough sleep, we all become tall two-year-olds.” —JoJo Jensen, Dirt Farmer Wisdom, 2002
Read the tips below to find out what productive people do before falling asleep and try to implement them into your daily habits. A good night’s sleep can help you make better choices, make fewer errors, and help you feel better about yourself.
Review Your Day
Going through your day to see what you could have improved or replaying the good parts of what happened is a great way to fall asleep. Pat yourself on the back for what you did right; it’s good to be kind to yourself.
Review your day by taking stock of what happened from morning until dinner. If you didn’t complete something or if you made an error on a project, find a way to forgive yourself and learn from the mistake.
Always stop on a positive note when reviewing. Using positivity to end a process will help train your mind on how to find compassion for yourself and in turn, others. This action will help move your mind forward when you do make a mistake, and soon, you may not think twice about the errors and only think of the solutions.
Plan out Tomorrow
Having a plan can sometimes backfire on you. Plans rarely go according to measure, so you may be wondering why this tip is even on the list. If you keep track of the projects, appointments, and other life/work tasks you have before bed, your mind won’t push you to wake up from a dead sleep to say, “Don’t forget this.” Having a plan doesn’t mean that you have to make things go a certain way. It just helps to list essential tasks for the next day.
Planning too far ahead will help you forget what comes before it. Make sure to plan for tomorrow and leave the rest for tomorrow night.
Spend Time outside
Believe it or not, going outside for 20 minutes or more a day will help your mind enter a new state. Fresh air can energize and clear your mind of negative thoughts.
“The minute anyone’s getting anxious, I say, You must eat, and you must sleep. They’re the two vital elements for a healthy life.” — Francesca Annis
Write down Your Thoughts
One of the problems people have when sleeping is that they are woken up by ongoing thoughts. Sometimes these thoughts can be productive (like, “Buy diapers”). Other times, they can be just nonsense that floats around inside our brains to tell us that we aren’t very good at what we do.
Either way, the problem is that we still get woken up—and falling back asleep becomes harder the more your mind continues running. One great tip is to write down your thoughts. Permitting yourself to write anything that comes to your brain allows the views to get out of your head and clears the way for a more restful sleep.
Set down the Electronics
Focusing on a screen for a certain amount of time can hard-wire your brain in a different and challenging way. But how do you fall asleep without looking at a screen and stay asleep when you can’t look at a screen. The vicious cycle of sleep deprivation then continues
Try putting down your electronics for about one hour before you are ready to rest. If you read, read a hard-copy book. The point of this practice is to get your mind to slow down and to separate yourself from the constant stimulation that can be on your mobile device, smartphone, tablet, or others.
After you put down your electronics, you’re going to need something to do, right? Why not try meditating. And don’t be afraid of the word meditate. Sit someplace quiet in your home, close your eyes, and let your thoughts drift over your mind like clouds. The point of putting the electronics down is to stave off over-stimulation.
Learning to listen to your thoughts and figuring out how to not allow them to stick can also be a useful tool when it comes to productivity. So, it’s a win-win.
Goals, like plans, can be long-term or short-term. Organizing your tasks and thoughts into an outcome will help you decipher the long-term goals versus the short-term goals. What is essential, though, is to organize your tasks. Like with the rest of the tips in this article, setting goals can help you carve out space in your mind for when you should be sleeping or creating. Knowing that the goals are in the back of your head can help you stay focused in the now and work toward the then.
“Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.” —Thomas Dekker
We all know that sleep is one of the most important parts of being human. Now, staying asleep and getting a good night’s sleep is harder than it sounds. If you keep your mind clear and avoid over-stimulation before bed, chances are your mind will unwind, relax, and let you sleep throughout the night. When you get good sleep, you’ll start on a grand journey of creativity, production, and have a better sense of self.