Do you wake up tired? Sleep ranks high on the list of my productivity clients’ most sought-after commodities. My clients who are parents to young children certainly don’t need scientific proof to show them what children cost them in sleep, they just know. Last week a client told me that she had crawled into bed at 8:00 pm with piles of stuff still lying all over the house and items left unchecked on her to-do list.
Arriana Huffington’s humorous account of why you need to discover the power of sleep in order to succeed garnered more than a few laughs and nods of agreement at a TED presentation. There is much truth in humor: a Harvard sleep study estimates that sleep deprivation costs American companies $63 billion a year in lost productivity.
Solutions to sleep problems that don’t involve counting sheep
Problem #1: Your to-do list is running through your head as you are trying to fall asleep.
Solution: Keep a pencil and notepad next to your bed to jot down things that you need to remember. Avoid taking notes on electronic gadgets because you are likely to get distracted by the latest email or Facebook post that has popped up on the screen.
Problem #2: You don’t get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep.
Solution: Maintain a regular sleep schedule. When your bedtime varies too much, you throw off your circadian rhythms. Track your sleep patterns using a sleep chart log if you need to see where the problem areas are in your sleep behavior.
Problem #3: Noises inside and outside your home keep you awake: gurgling refrigerator, snoring spouse, neighbor’s barking dog, etc.
Solution: Use a white noise machine to block out the sounds that keep you up at night or wake you up.
Problem #4: Your bedroom is cluttered and distracts you from falling asleep.
Solution: Create a bedtime routine. Remove distractions and put everything away. That does not mean tossing everything into the closet and squeezing the doors closed. Find a proper home for each item and make sure everything goes back to its home at night.
Problem #5: Your bedroom is too light.
Solution: Keep electronics that emit light from screens out of the bedroom. If light is creeping in through drapes, consider buying blackout drapes or using a sleep mask when you sleep.
What keeps you up at night? I’d love to hear from you in the poll below: