A month ago, I had a very important day. I had a long shoot at work and an engagement party later at home. When my alarm rang, I snoozed it thrice but knew I had to get a lot done so got out of bed after a long session of self pep talk. I honestly didn’t feel like getting out of bed.
I started my daily routine by making myself a cup of tea, and it was only until later I realised that I put salt instead of sugar. Well, I had to throw it away but told myself I won’t start my day on a bad note. I took a shower and started putting my makeup on. It was just not right, my eyeliner wasn’t “winging”, skin looked dull and unhappy. I didn’t have much time left so I thought of leaving it as it was.
When I reached work, we started setting up the studio and welcomed our guests for the interview. As I was introducing my team to them, I yawned! It was such an embarrassment but I couldn’t stop yawning. I thought it could’ve been the tea so I had a cup at work but no, it was something else. Anyway, after a long shoot day I reached home (all safe!) and had a couple of friends over. Social settings are one of my favourites but I was just so tired that I couldn’t spend much time with them and called it a day.
The next morning, I decided to dig deeper into this and came across a term called Sleep Hygiene. It basically means your environment and daily routine should promote consistent and uninterrupted sleep. Have you ever felt tired even after sleeping? This is because when it comes to sleep, quantity doesn’t always matter. The quality of sleep you get is more important along with quantity of course! but what is the point of sleeping when you wake up tired?
Focusing on sleep optimization will definitely change your world and trust me when I say this! Not only do internal factors matter when you sleep but the external environment plays an important role too.
Sleeping well improves your productivity, relationship with others, promotes a healthy body and mind. Ask yourself this- Are you surviving? Or thriving? When you say you are thriving, you feel best in every area of life and are energized to do better and push yourself. This comes with quality sleep. Quality of sleep is determined by how fast you fall asleep and how uninterrupted your sleep is.
When you sleep your short term memories are converted to long term ones and if you don’t sleep well, that process is weak resulting in you forgetting important things or not paying attention to what you are doing like I put salt in my tea instead of sugar. This means your willpower and resolve to think clearly is compromised. Compromised decision making is also one of the symptoms of a bad quality sleep. Needless to say, if memory combined with decision making is compromised, your productivity will take a toll. Not only will you do less but also take more time to do a simple task. Researchers say that it takes 4 times more effort to complete a task when you are sleep deprived.
Along with these come other factors like lowered energy levels and eating unhealthy food. Do you know why unhealthy, sugary and fatty foods make you feel better? That’s the easiest way to calm your mind down when you are stressed and tired. And when your resolve and will power is compromised, you reach for these kinds of food.
Has your gym trainer ever mentioned that you need to give your body some recovery time? Exactly how your body physically needs recovery time, your mind needs some too. When we sleep our bodies secrete growth hormones, these hormones are responsible for our healing, muscle growth and recovery. But when you don’t sleep well, your body finds it difficult to perform well.
Sleeping well will help you get over all these symptoms. When you are sleep deprived, your body goes into survival mode and it starts craving more fuel. Our metabolism slows down to conserve resources, and hunger hormones are activated.
Bad quality sleep also affects your relationships. Poor sleep quality makes you lose the ability to regulate your mood and you tend to become more reactive to the negative emotional stimuli. When you don’t sleep well, you are more likely to over-react at simple things like traffic, unwashed dishes, etc. these things usually don’t affect you as much.
When you haven’t rested well, you experience more fear, anger and depression. It becomes difficult to maintain any healthy relationship. As I mentioned earlier, your brain goes into survival mode and that mode forces you to turn to selfishness to survive. Empathy goes down. It also becomes very difficult to experience happy emotions and positive changes around you. So basically when you are sleep deprived, you are stealing your happiness.
Your digestion is affected by your sleep cycle too. And it was very obvious after reading what happened to me that your skin won’t love you back, it won’t glow, dark circles will take over your friend circle! (I tend to make such jokes when I haven’t rested well, so a great way to up your humor game too!)
Ways to improve the quality of your sleep:
After some trial and error days, I found out some simple methods to have a good night’s sleep. One of the best ways is definitely by improving your eating habits but apart from that, it is very important to EXERCISE. If you can’t go to the gym, move as much as possible
When I was in school my dad always told me, study hard, play hard but sleep harder!
Try eating a balanced diet. (Vitamin C, B6, Calcium, Potassium and Omega 3 help you sleep well.)
Don’t sleep hungry, eat a banana, apple, berries or carrots before sleeping if you feel like snacking
Try following a self-care routine, it affects your sleep and brings you satisfaction.
Read books, have a hot cup of green tea, warm bath or you could even watch a funny show.
Try journaling. It gives you a clear and calm mind so your thoughts don’t go haywire while you sleep. Also when you write things down, you trade your worries to a peaceful sleep.
This step might be a little difficult but try not to take any worries or stress to bed. It would definitely take a lot of efforts to try doing this but journaling and writing all your worries down would help you sleep better.
Now that everyone is working from home, leaving work at the work desk could be tough but with a little bit of time management, I think it shouldn't be a problem. If you are working from home, try not working on your bed.
Plan your day ahead
Don’t forget oral hygiene
Avoid caffeine before bed.
Stretch your hips and back as they carry most of the day’s stress.
Taking care of your sleep environment:
Along with internal factors, you should try looking around you. Make sure your bedroom
promotes a good night's sleep, have a calming decor, clutter-free bedroom. You can add art pieces, or the best way is to decorate it with plants like English Ivy and Snake plant. They filter air and promote a healthy sleep.
I can definitely understand it is a process and not easy to implement immediately but you need to give your body what it requires. You can take baby steps and make your way through it. I used to feel I can get a lot of things done if I pull an all nighter but that’s just how much I could’ve done with some better time management and a good sleep. All I want you to know is sleep is as important as nutrition and exercise because trust me, you don’t want to put salt in your tea!