Are you getting enough? If not, find a routine that works for you. Some research suggests that 7 to 8 hours are healthy for most people.
A few suggestions:
- Set a bedtime for yourself. That’s your target.
- Set the alarm on your smartphone for 30 minutes before your bedtime to allow enough time to transition.
- Clear your mind. Arianna Huffington champions the many benefits of a good night’s sleep. She believes we achieve better sleep when we pause and clear our minds with a mind dump: “Write down everything that is on your mind, everything that remains incomplete, everything that you want to accomplish the next day, or the next week, or the next year, and then they’re down. That’s it, they’re no longer in your mind at a time when there’s nothing you can do about it.”
- Remember the good. I’ve found that pausing to think of three things I’m grateful for at the end of the day helps me remember to focus on all the things that are going right after hours of tackling challenges.
- Don’t charge your devices next to your bed. This will help you break the habit of being on your screen in the final moments of your day, which hinders good sleep.
- Take a warm bath. It calmed you when you were a baby, and it will now, too.
- Sleep in pajamas or garb that is set aside just for sleeping. This will help you form sleep-friendly habits.
- Do some light stretching to help your body relax.
- Don’t fall asleep in front of the TV; it’s hard to fall into a restful sleep this way. Consider reading instead.
A good night’s sleep offers many benefits, to you as well as the people and work you care about. As leadership expert Michael Hyatt observes, “Sleep improves our ability to remember, learn, and grow. I’m sure brain teasers are fine, but adequate sleep is the best learning tool there is.”
Our minds are particularly active when we sleep, integrating new information learned during the day, processing memories, and sorting the significant from all the meaningless stuff we pick up. Even dreaming is critical to this process.
If our work depends on our creativity and insight – and whose doesn’t? – then sleep is essential.