Health is wealth. Something we all know. Especially in testing times like today, prioritising our health is more important than ever before. When it comes to taking care of our bodies, we know that we should eat well and exercise regularly. It is also essential to catch up on a good night’s sleep. However, this is one area where a lot of people are lagging. Sleep.
Have there been days when you’ve woken up because you have to and not because you’re well-rested? Do you feel groggy and disoriented, feeling the lack of motivation to kickstart a new day?
If you find yourself answering ‘yes’ or ‘maybe’ to this, there are chances you need to work on getting quality sleep. Sleep is crucial for us to function at our highest capabilities. It is not something we ‘deserve’ after a long day’s work, it is necessary.
I’ve come across a lot of people who find pride in proclaiming that they sleep for 4-5 hours each night. Some even say that they consider sleeping a ‘waste’ of time and they would rather spend those hours doing something productive. This mentality is shocking to say the least!
In the extremely informative, science-backed book, “Why We Sleep”, written by sleep researcher Matthew Walker, the concept of sleep is explained in great detail. The author delves deep into the fundamentals of sleep. In his years of research on this topic, Walker has concluded that there is so much harm we could cause to ourselves simply by not getting enough rest.
Sleep can work wonders. It uplifts our mood, boosts memory, increases alertness, accelerates productivity, and ensures a very good functioning of our entire system.
Walker states, “When sleep is abundant, minds flourish. When it is deficient, they don’t.”
There are so many myths surrounding the concept of sleep. It is considered to be a “lazy” act, and that it is nothing but a “luxury.”
In short, sleep is a highly overlooked aspect of our wellbeing. We need to prioritise it and make it a non-negotiable essential in our daily lives.
Another activity that is looked down upon by a majority of us is taking naps during the day. I am guilty of having chided it and used to think it is not needed. Of course, it is not an essential for every day. But there are days when your body tells you it needs a short nap. And you should simply listen to it. It can charge you up to work better and complete a lot more for the rest of your work day.
One of my most favourite discoveries on the Internet, Headspace, has a section entirely dedicated to Sleep on their app. It has the most soothing soundscapes, with realistic nature sounds you can listen to while going off to sleep. It relaxes your mind and body and helps you sleep well.
I am by no means saying I sleep fitfully most of the days. I am not an expert in it and in fact, I am putting in efforts to prioritise sleep more. What helps me sleep well is reading a book or listening to soft, soul music before going to bed.
A bit of experimenting can help you determine what works for you to sleep better.
A few suggestions for you:
- Do a few light stretches to ease the tension in your muscles
- Drink a warm beverage (make sure it is non-caffeinated!)
- Dim the lights in your room
- Switch off electronics and gadgets 30-60 minutes before you decide to sleep
- Have a light dinner. A full stomach can delay your sleep.
- Most importantly, stick to a sleep schedule and follow it daily.
There are a few people who can rise early and work the best in the early mornings. There are others who can work optimally late into the night. There’s nothing wrong in it. It is how your circadian rhythm (your body’s internal clock) works.
Whatever it is, ensure that you sleep enough to feel well-rested and alert when you wake up.
‘Sleep’ is the gentlest of the gods. Cherish it. Honour it by giving it most of your night and an hour of your day when you can. ‘With a quiet mind go take thy rest’, said a wise man, and there is much truth in that statement. ~ A Book of Simple Living, Ruskin Bond
Greg McKeown in his book, Essentialism, says that “The best asset we have for making a contribution to the world is ourselves.” So protect this asset that you own. You’re worth it.
Until next time, stay blessed, stay safe and sleep well!