The idea is to intentionally set yourself up with a plan to get a full eight hours of sleep every night for a week. Like planning your workouts. This is a great challenge, because rest is just as important as exercise. It’s part of your overall fitness routine. Your body needs adequate recovery time to get stronger and prep for the next workout. This four-step plan will help you get more sleep this week.
Step One: Make a pledge
Be firm about getting to bed at a specific time every night and stick to it. I have to get eight hours, and I want to be up at 6 AM so… 10 PM bedtime it is! Some of you are saying, “Yeah, right. There’s still more to do after the kids are in bed.” But trust me, do this for yourself. Whatever needs to get done can wait until tomorrow. Plus, you’ll feel so much more inclined to get up and start the day with a quick morning workout when you’re better rested.
Step Two: Shut down or get rid of the screens in the bedroom.
My husband loves this one for me. He’s always telling me, “Turn off the laptop! Stop checking your phone!” It’s true, I have been reading and taking that mental stimulation with me all the way until the last minute that I close my eyes. I’m not proud of it! Honestly, are all those status updates really that important? God forbid that I miss anything! Seriously, I forced myself all week to leave my laptop in my home office, turn off the phone and clear my brain. It really does make a difference.
Step Three: Cut down on the caffeine and use sleep-promoting tools.
I will say that this was the easier step for me. I’m not a caffeine user after dinner. Everyone knows that I save that for my workouts! I do love a big mug of herbal tea before bed. It’s such a cozy way to tell your body, “Ok, shutting down now. Relaaax…”
I’ve always been big on using certain things to (finally) get me into sleep mode, especially when traveling. I’m The World’s Lightest Sleeper, and I literally cannot fall asleep in a hotel without my:
- light-blocking eye mask
- foam ear plugs
- lavender spray or oil
I always pack a backup stash of those items in Ziploc® sandwich bags and just keep the set in my carry-on luggage, so I never have to worry about forgetting them. Ziploc® was right on target with its lavender suggestion. One hotel I stayed at even left us small bottles of lavender linen spray to use on our pillows. Best. Idea. Ever. It really does help to promote sleep.
Step Four: Prep for the morning.
Take care of whatever you need to bring with you tomorrow, so that you’re not running your to-do list through your brain on the pillow. That works for me. I always have snacks packed in small Ziploc® snack bags or containers—in perfect portions, especially for when I’m in the car. Then I can shut off the mind-chatter and know that I can just grab and go in the morning.
Sleep challenge done! Actually, I don’t consider it a challenge; it’s the perfect reminder that we have to take care of ourselves in every way. Not just with healthy food and consistent exercise, but with self-nurturing and proper rest. Thanks, Ziploc®—I feel better already!
Disclaimer: I was paid to develop this post for Ziploc®. As always, all opinions are my own.
Photo: Faith Dey