Much is written about how to start the day. Eat a good breakfast, exercise, revise your to-do list, etc. How you end the day is just as important, if not more so. A good night’s sleep is essential for you to operate at your best. In fact, Margaret Heffernan wrote in Inc., if you lose just one night’s sleep, your cognitive ability is on par with someone who is legally drunk. Too little sleep also promotes the consumption of too much sugar, because your body over-reacts to reduced glucose going to the brain, a by-product of sleep deprivation.
If you don’t want to be chunky and ineffective, try these tips for a better night’s sleep:
Wrap it up with a plan. To begin the end of the day, make sure you know what your priorities for tomorrow will be. Then, to the best of your ability, turn off your work brain.
Unplug. This is always advised, but rarely done. Your final hour before bed should be “sans electronics.” Don’t surf the net or watch TV. Sorry, electronic junkies – between the bright light and the stimulation, these activities don’t promote restful sleep. Try reading, journaling, deep breathing or taking a bath instead.
Focus on the positives. When my daughter was younger, we used to snuggle in bed at night and tell each other about our favorite part of the day. That is a ritual worth recovering. Even if you decide not to share it with some else, you can always repeat Dr. Seuss’ famous words: Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.
Do something outward-focused. The best part of your day might be the 15 minutes you take to write a note to your mom or to a colleague outlining specifically how much she makes work enjoyable. Doing something nice for someone else gets you out of your own head. Then you can lay your head down on that pillow and have a great snooze.