Sleep. its one of those glorious things that can either constantly elude us, or we never get enough of with today’s busy lifestyle.
Here in Japan, a recent survey stated that approximately half of the population get less than six hours of sleep a night. Half! That probably explains the practice of people mass dozing on trains every day, and those that regularly fall asleep in meetings here (the more attendees the merrier). However it doesn’t excuse the fact that it isn’t enough to function effectively, day after day, without long term physical and psychological consequences.
Many of you reading this right now may be nodding your head , saying “hey, he just described me! Yes, the problem stretches across the globe as all of us work under heavier workloads, increased expectations and struggling economic realities.
Blaming it on a busy lifestyle isn’t enough; many people end up sitting prone in front of a TV till the early hours of the morning, simply because they cannot switch off, unwind, and let sleep come to them naturally.
Because its not enough for many people just to jump in the bed; you have to be ready to sleep- laying down on the bed often makes us suddenly aware of how stressed out or worried we really are, or something that we have been putting off, or ignoring.. the list goes on.
Stress is a prime factor for lack of sleep. So what can we do to limit its effects?
1. Turn the TV off a good half hour or more before you hit the sack.
2. Have a stretch- this often is enough to bring whatever is on your mind right to the fore, as well as the related stiffness in your body.
3. Meditate/deep breath/ conscious relaxation methods. It works, because it puts you in touch with you, your state of mind, where you are at this very moment.
4. Get your partner to relax also. Its no good you trying to slow down if they are frantically preparing for the next day.
5. Create a meditative space- bath, candles, lights, music, incense, aromatic oils..gee, it sounds great already! For me, the sense of smell is supreme, so if I create a space where my environment tells me to calm down or to prepare for a transition, I usually take its advice.
6. Don’t do any intense exercise at least an hour or two before you sleep.This tends to wake you up and get the heart and blood pumping way too much, meaning that your down time will suffer. ( I have done it and watched, wide-eyed, its effects)
These are very simple strategies, but worthwhile. It might require you to plan a bit ahead when you get home from work and make sure that whatever needs to get done that night is finished in a timely fashion, but hey, that’s a no brainer, right?
You are the most important person to your life, your family and friends. Therefore incorporating simple strategies to keeping you fit, fed and well rested, is primary.
Also, make sure you spend some quality time checking in with your partner/kids/pets. They will certainly appreciate it, just remember to be consistent about it as well ;).
How about you? Got any effective strategies that work well with getting enough rest, and leading an active lifestyle? Let us know.
Now, go get some quality rest tonight!