I remember this woman in her 30’s that I lived with for three years of my university life. We became great friends and the one thing I always noticed and tried to ape about her was that she would never tire. While I’d wake up bleary eyed, she would be fresh and happy every morning and for the rest of the day. And she did not even have the luxury of afternoon naps and extra hours of sleep at night. With two children of her own and a demanding family, she was on her feet all day. After spending more and more time with her, I found her secret – she had some simple habits that helped her achieve high-quality recharge in no time at all, increase productivity and overall happiness.
The one thing she had that struck out is discipline. She gave her body the bliss of routine which means that she would not stay on to watch that extra show at weekends, nor would she stay on for another drink with friends; as tempting as it was. Well-rested people prioritize sleep. If your body is used to six hours of sleep every night, don’t read an extra chapter of the thriller and rob your body off 30 minutes of sleep. When your body constantly gets the maintained cycle of sleep and wake, your body is well-rested.
2. Check-in Electronics
According to some surveys, people spend at least 30 minutes in bed with an electronic device before they go to sleep. Scarily, many of these people fall asleep with these devices on their beds. These gadgets have a way of messing with our sleep. A text that pings at 3am, the light that laptops emit – all this may wake you up and you will take time to fall asleep again, resulting in disturbed sleep. Well-rested people leave their electronics outside their bedroom door.
3. Power Naps
To optimize alertness, productivity and creativity and to reduce stress, well-rested people take power naps. A power nap can give your body the reboot it requires for you to last the rest of the day. Don’t allow yourself to go in for long naps, this will only make you groggier than when you started out as your body will go into phases of deep sleep. A 30 minute nap between 2 and 3pm is all you need to be fresh again.
You will notice that you sleep better and rest better when you have engaged in some sort of physical activity. You don’t need to be a marathon runner, just getting off the couch and doing some form of exercise will help you rest better and toss less in bed.
5. Shut down
If you lead a life where your days are packed up with work, home, family, kids and more, you may find it difficult to shut down when it is time for bed. Although our bodies are tired, our minds refuse to shut down and we are not able to rest. If only we had a switch off button! Find a way to shut down as you hit your bed. Some people meditate – this simple exercise shuts down your mind easily. Some people pray and spend a few minutes saying thank you for everything that has gone right in their lives. Some people read. Whatever gets your mind to shut down, do it. Going to sleep with a lot of things on your mind will not let you rest well. There will be nights when you may have a night of bad sleep. Instead of worrying about not being able to sleep, get out of bed and do something relaxing till it tires you.
Well-rested people value their sleep and their rest. That is their secret to a productive life. What is yours?