Wake up, it’s time to talk about sleep!

2/5/2016 |

Breaking news. We need more sleep. Yawn. What’s that? I wasn’t listening. I’ve been a bit tired lately you see…

For many of us, the idea that we’re not getting enough sleep isn’t breaking news. Just ask parents, blurry eyed from listening to their little one coughing throughout the night, or how about those travelling executives taking red eye flights to make their 9am meetings in the big city?

Our sleep crisis made headlines again this month when Huffington Post co-founder and Editor released her latest book, The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time.

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“Solving our sleep crisis requires not just practical changes to how we approach our days and our nights but also rethinking our priorities and what we really value,” writes Adrianna Huffington.

Like other researchers on the subject, Huffington is making the point that a lack of sleep can have huge consequences – on our health, our performance, our relationships and our overall happiness.

Why a 21st century sleep crisis?

Technology is easy to blame — far too many of us stay connected 24/7 because we can. Tablets and cell phones are everywhere, from hot tubs and bathrooms to operating rooms and even funerals! Blinking red lights, alerts, and flashing signals have become 21st century bedroom décor.

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Of course, our obsession with ‘being busy’ is equally to blame. Movies, TV shows and the examples we set our kids, suggest that to be successful you have to burn the candle at both ends.

When asked the age-old question, ‘How are you?’ nine times out of ten, the answer is ‘busy’ or ‘stressed’, even if we don’t like to admit it.

Use your ‘second brain”

Our Productivity Ninjas recommend using a ‘second brain’ to help keep your mind active.

Your second brain is good for storing information you don’t need right away but that you don’t want to forget. Awake at three in the morning because you don’t want to forget something? Write it down and go back to counting sheep. Daily action lists give us a break from having to think about that annoying invoice that needs paying, or that birthday card that needs sending. Weekly checklists help to keep goals in sight, such as creating a new sales presentation, or scheduling blog posts.

Work smarter, not harder

Traditional time management training was all about how much you could cram into one day. Think Productive time management training helps us make better choices concerning how we manage our time, which lessens the stress that robs us of our sleep. A Productivity Ninja acknowledges that they won’t necessarily get everything done, but that’s okay. By working smarter, not harder, you can set priorities and balance what has to be done, what can be delegated, and what ‘nags’ can be ignored.

A key part of Ninja time management is knowing how to manage your email. Pick certain times of the day to check your inbox, for example.

Harness mindfulness and zen-like calm

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  • Silence, space and rest are essential for a healthy and productive mindset
  • Give yourself permission to switch off at nights, on weekends
  • Practice meditation in way that works for you
  • Listen to the silence at least once a day without interruptions 

Picture a good night’s sleep and imagine how great you’ll feel the next day, how renewed your body feels and the energy you will have gained by getting a solid 7-8 hours sleep.

It sounds so lovely that I think I’m drifting off as I write…

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