Sleep or the lack of it is some thing we take for granted as we go through the day doing our work and beating deadlines. Yet it is as valuable as a healthy, balanced diet and exercise.
Sound, quality sleep yields positive results such as improved athletic performance, better concentration and productivity and weight loss, among other health benefits. Not to mention less pronounced eyes bags and light-headedness usually experienced by sleep-deprived people.
So how do we condition ourselves to have a good night’s sleep? These are my own simple but proven tips: first, limit caffeine intake to at least two cups of coffee a day, ideally taken once in the morning and once in the early afternoon. As we know, caffeine gives us a temporary burst of energy but it is also addicting and very acidic on the digestive tract. Second, stay active by doing regular exercise such as brisk walking, biking, dancing, swimming or strength training. I know, I know, there’s not enough time in a day to squeeze in exercise, you might say. But think of the opposite: a sedentary life sitting in an office for eight hours or more everyday is not healthy. Our muscles would atrophy and we may tend to have all sorts of ailments related to a sedentary life.
Third, try to eat less meat but more fiber – vegetables and fruits which are easier to digest . Fourth, minimize worry and stress in our lives by living in the present. We can make a checklist of what we need to do and not worry about future tasks and overwhelming challenges. We can multitask but this may cause us to be stressed out at the end of the day. A better way is to decide on priorities, do the top priorities and tick them off our list as we finish them. Further, manage toxic people by forgiving, forgetting, letting go and moving on from anger and bitterness. Not an easy thing to do but it gets easier as we keep trying.
Fifth, don’t be such a perfectionist and learn to delegate. Try as we might, we are not Spiderman, Iron Man, Wonder Woman or any of the Avengers heroes. We’re just human: we can only do so much in a day. So it would help if we learn to entrust some work to other people while empowering, guiding and training them to do it right.
Sixth, do what I call as “prayerful silence” and meditation. There are many ways of meditating. It would be good to focus on Christ-centered meditation and reflection on the Words of God. His Divine Wisdom will guide and lead us to the right path, even if we’re in the middle of a tough decision or life situation.
Seventh, as we prepare for bed, we might want to minimize the blue light exposure from our gadgets. They keep us up when we’re trying to wind down for the night. Further, avoid caffeinated beverages like coffee or tea at night. Dim the lights and just use night lights or no light at all. Before long, we’re off to dreamland. So, for those night owls, insomniacs and those with sleep problems out there, hope this article helps.