Toss. Turn. Fluff the pillow. Covers. No covers. I’ve been there. Getting a good night’s sleep had been a goal of mine for a long time. It took me a long time to understand what a good night’s sleep involved. Once I found the secret—because really, that is what it is, a secret—I now gorge on the ZZZ’s.
For today’s Freedom Friday post, I’m going to talk about the most important productivity booster you will ever know—sleep.
It wasn’t too long ago when I suffered from insomnia. I have posts dedicated to the subject and my stories are legendary. For instance, there was a point four years ago that I was getting two hours of sleep a night. You may ask how on earth I could have functioned on so little sleep. It wasn’t easy. The condition had lasted for years culminating in the worst year of my life. I’d fallen ill three times that year, one major blow after another. This is from a guy who hadn’t gotten sick since 2005. Flus, fevers, coughs, colds—you name it, I had it.
The bright side to that year was finding a rhythm that worked for me, but not after many attempts and a few failures along the way.
This is how I do it.
Say Good Night—Interesting how the simple act of a goodnight kiss will prep the body to begin shutting down. For me, as soon as I begin my goodnight tour, my eyes begin to drift, my muscles relax and I find that I’m dragging my limbs upstairs instead of walking. This is all very well and fine, because it’s the body’s way of telling me it’s ready to hit the sack. And it all starts with saying goodnight.
Prepare the Sleeping Area—My ritual entails stripping the bed and making it over again, even if it’s done. Yes, I admit it is strange. But it’s my thing. It’s another step toward solid sleep. I remove the wrinkles. Tighten the sheets. Fluff the pillows and create a fold. I know, and I agree that it’s obsessive compulsive. You know what, though? Every time I get under the sheets, it feels great knowing I’ve made the bed minutes earlier. Call me strange.
Wash and Get Dressed—Hygiene is very important for a sound, restful sleep. Every night I brush my teeth, wash my face, comb my hair and go pee—and wash my hands again, of course. Then I slip into my PJs made of 100% cotton. The material is important because I find 100% cotton allows my skin to breathe. Try sleeping with polyester on your skin. Not a fun night Charlie Brown.
Downtime—Once I’ve taken care of the prerequisites, I’ll turn off all the lights except for the one on my nightstand. I’ll dim that one to its lowest setting. Next, I’ll pray, listen to music, read, perhaps play a game or two and slowly allow my eyes to close. Sometimes I won’t even have the chance to do anything. I’ll simply be ready for bed. The downtime provides my body to ease into its sleep cycle. It’s not about the activity, but about allowing your body to shut down naturally. For a long time I didn’t do this and found myself wide awake at two in the morning.
In Bed—Once I’ve completed the Twenty-Mile Marathon, I put everything away, tuck myself under the sheets and turn off the light. Seriously, within seconds I fall asleep and wake up every morning feeling refreshed and invigorated. The trick while sleeping is to never look at the clock. Eventually, the alarm will go off and you’ll bounce out of bed with all the energy you need to tackle the day’s events.
That’s all there is to it. Now you know me a little more than you had a few minutes ago.
Last piece of advise, if you’re looking to get a good night’s sleep: find your rhythm. It’ll take a while, but once you find it, your body will be happy you did.
Have you suffered from insomnia? What was your cure?