For the first time in a year (or possibly in 6 years) I got a solid 7 hours of sleep. The change in my energy, my attitude, my motivation is truly astounding. That feeling that “I could rule the world” is actually riding on my shoulder and the corners of my mouth keep creeping up in private smiles to myself as I fly across the ditch to Australia for my work meetings. I could high five everyone I see. I am looking around wondering why all these other people who got up at 4am for the flight aren’t as happy as I am?!
Of course, I still have tiredness behind my eyes that can’t be healed in just one good night’s sleep after a multitude of broken nights, but my mind feels bright and I have such huge gratitude for the rest that I can ignore the quiet tiredness for now.
This somewhat revolutionary experience has me thinking about sleep. We all know it is crucial to our health, to our energy, to our focus. I’m not going to write a blog about the benefits of sleep because they are self-evident. What I am going to do is write about what you can do when the ability to get that divine uninterrupted sleep is just impossible.
It might be because of anxiety or stress that you’re not sleeping well, or perhaps it’s your current work schedule or that you are caring for a parent or partner who requires your help in the night, or possibly most commonly (as in my case), you have a few small people in your house who interrupt your sleep. In my case I expect a minimum of 2 wake ups right now but potentially 7 – 8 calls in the night from my darling ones. Whatever it is that’s keeping you up, these are the things that I rely on most to back me up when sleep has gone awry.
- Get up. When the alarm goes off or in my case, when the clock ticks onto the time that I know I need to wake to make the mornings work, I just get up. The quicker the better. Look the day in the eye and say, “here we go, it’s going to be great” despite whatever has occurred in the night.
- Hydrate and feed your energy. Drink lots and lots of water. Water is its own special brand of energy (better than any coffee as it doesn’t have the come down) and your body is begging for it in order to be effective. Fuel yourself with lots of green leafy vegetables and if that doesn’t sound good in the morning, find a great green powder you can add to your morning drink. As you’re consuming it, know and tell yourself how this is literally changing your body to be full of energy.
- Move. If you can exercise, great. If that’s not possible in your day, just move. Walk with vigour to your car or mode of transport. Get the blood pumping in your body. Do this as frequently as you can. If you feel yourself fading, get up and move. The body was designed to move and when we are stationary for long periods we are telling our body to go into rest mode. But rather than enter a restorative sleep phase, you fight so stay awake and further deplete your energy reserves. Remember that we have to replenish our energy credits throughout the day, not just spend them.
- Connect with people. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, humans derive energy and meaning from connecting with other people. Engage in conversations, especially with people you love and who love you. Listen and be heard. It is our fundamental need to connect with others that keeps us feeling alive. (Read more about this in my blog about vulnerability.)
- Connect with purpose. Find your motivation in asking yourself what you are grateful for today. If you already know your higher purpose in the world then write it down and check in with it often throughout the day. If you’re working on this right now then simply find today’s purpose, today’s reason to get up and give the day everything. Gratitude is an easy way to find that. What is it today that you feel most grateful for?
Finally, take time to delve into whatever it is that’s preventing you from getting the sleep you need. If you have young kids or are caring for someone, can you get some support or advice from other parents, or have a night off occasionally. If you feel stressed or anxious seek some coaching or counselling support or talk to your local natural health store about supplements to support sleep. If it’s your work schedule, can you see the light at the end of the tunnel or could you discuss changing things around with those involved?
Sleep is vital to our survival and our energy. It can make us feel super-human or, without it, sub-par. Whatever your current arrangement with sleep is, there are many other aspects of life that you can tap into to support your energy while you resolve your sleep. We all have the ability to create an energised reality for ourselves. It resides in our choices every day.