Are Your Sleep Rituals Keeping You Awake?
There’s lots of evidence that a regular bedtime routine helps us establish a healthy sleep pattern. Just as children need a bedtime routine to help them settle each night, adults respond in the same way. Regular habits signal to our minds and bodies that it’s time to unwind and prepare for sleep.
Some examples of healthy bedtime routines include:
- Gentle stretching exercises
- Taking a warm bath
- Reading a book
The danger is that when we rely too heavily on having a set bedtime ritual, it can become a source of anxiety in itself. If you’re unable to ‘perform’ part of your ritual for some reason, you may be convinced that you will unable to sleep, and this anxiety creates a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Holding on too tightly to sleep aids and rituals can become a source of sleep anxiety and prevent us from getting the sleep we need.
One way to help soften this rigid approach to sleep is to practice Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). This approach draws heavily on mindfulness and involves learning to accept our thoughts and feelings (including the negative ones) rather than trying to change or control them.
Learn more about ACT and sleep
Shift the Goal Posts
Another helpful approach is to reconsider what a good night’s sleep actually means. Lots of us grip on to the idea that we must have at least 8 hours of solid sleep. But that’s not always the case for everyone. There are numerous examples of successful people who are able to flourish and thrive without a prescribed number of hours of sleep.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t allow ourselves that time if it’s what we need. But instead of striving for a specific, arbitrary number of hours, try measuring sleep quality in terms of the energy you have each day. Do you wake up feeling refreshed and recharged? Do you have the energy to do the things you need and want to each day? Keeping this in mind can help you to relax your grip on the idea that you have to get XX hours of sleep. And this makes it more likely that you’ll get the sleep you need.
Sleep Better, Lead Better
Discover why a good night’s sleep might be the key to effective leadership.