Sleep is something I value a lot. I don’t run well on less than 8 hours of sleep. There are obvious cases that less sleep cannot be avoided but for me sleep is really important. I rank getting enough rest in the top five most important factors for my personal happiness. I don’t have any issues telling people I’m going to bed at X time or I need to leave because I’m tired. We are grown adults and no one can “judge” you for doing what’s best for you.
There should never be judgment to begin with but often times there is an (unnecessary) pressure to stay out late and to hang out longer. Like I said this is completely unnecessary.
I’m not a doctor. There are plenty of reasons why sleep plays an important role in your life. I’m not here to tell you why and googling “why is sleep important” can yield thousands of results.
I’m here to tell you when I don’t get enough sleep I’m a grouchy human being, I’m hungry all the time and I want to drink all the caffeine I can get my hands on. This cycle normally leads to a crash, napping and then not being able to sleep the next day.
I used to not sleep well. Often times I would find myself tired and not sleeping through the night. I didn’t understand why. I later realized I was doing a few things to sabotage my sleep as well as I needed a new mattress.
Here are some things I’ve started doing to help me sleep better (and in my PERSONAL experience, have found them to work well)
Turn off technology before going to bed. I stopped going to bed with an internet glow. I turned off technology and don’t sleep with my cell phone in the bedroom.
I stopped drinking full leaded coffee after 1pm. I used to drink regular coffee until around 2-3 but found one (and actually usually noon) is the latest I’ll have coffee.
I now change my sheets, pillowcase and entire bed linens more than once a week. I used to alternate every 2 weeks but have found that more is better. This means an unnecessary amount of laundry but I like to think of it as an awkward quirk I have.
Have a bed time snack. I normally like to have a glass of milk as well as some sort of small bed time snack. I wake up hungry in the morning and I have found going to bed full causes me to fall asleep very quickly and soundly.
I don’t struggle with this frequently (but I know some people do), but establishing a similar sleep pattern. I go to bed and wake up the same time weather I’m working or not. I’ve found having a fairly similar sleep pattern keeps my body conditioned to actually follow it. I don’t go to bed at 3am some nights and 9pm other nights.
These are just things that I have found that work for me. Sleep is such an important and key factor in your life and running.
Some of my favorite articles about sleep:
Question for you: What do you do to promote sleep?