The One Simple Sleep Habit That Changed My Life
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Sleep is crucial for good health and a good life.
I know that. I’m sure you know that too.
But I’ll tell you what: for the first 28 years of my life, I went about trying to develop good sleeping habits in all the wrong ways.
But what exactly constitutes a good sleep habit?
How do you know if you’re not sleeping enough—or if you’re sleeping too much? (Is there even such a thing? Should we be worried about it? For me personally, probably not.)
There’s been a massive amount of research done on the importance of sleep, the effects of sleep deprivation, the benefits of developing a regular sleep schedule, and more.
Of course, you don’t need a scientist to tell you that not sleeping enough is really, really bad for you—I’m sure you’ve felt the effects of sleep deprivation at least a few times in your life.
Pulling an all-nighter in school always seemed fun until I drove my car over a curb I somehow didn’t see, forgot what I was going to say to that cute girl in my chemistry class, and had one of the worst headaches of my entire life.
What You Will Learn
Lack of Sleep Can Cost You Big
Not getting enough sleep costs you—in health, money, lack of productivity, poorer job performance, increased risk of dying early, and more!
If there were a magic pill that could give you all the health benefits of getting enough sleep, it would be the #1 best selling drug in the world by far.
The bad news is, there is no magic pill for getting enough sleep.
But the good news is, there is a simple sleep habit you can adopt that will virtually guarantee you get all the sleep you need at the right time without any extra stress or struggle.
A Crazy Solution That Just Might Work…
I’ve read hundreds of research studies on sleep, several books, and even watched a few documentaries in pursuit of finding the “perfect” sleep schedule.
And what did I find out about getting a good night's sleep?
The research can be confusing, and there are too many different sleep chronotypes to determine one ideal sleeping schedule that’s best for everyone.
You know, night owls and early birds and mid-day penguins and all that.
Like so many things when it comes to health, getting the right amount of sleep at the right time is most likely different for you than it is for me.
If everyone on the planet went to bed and woke up at the exact same time with a good 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, chances are some of us would feel amazing and some of us would walk around in a foggy haze of exhaustion.
Luckily, mother nature developed the perfect solution to understand when and how much you should be sleeping: fatigue.
Fatigue is when you feel tired out, worn out, or exhausted, and it means the best thing to do is just go to sleep.
When your body is giving you all the signals that you’re tired, you might want to start listening.
A Radical Sleep Habit
I first realized how easy it could be to get all the sleep I needed when I got a puppy.
We could take a walk, play fetch, and then get a meal and curl up on the couch, and my puppy would just fall asleep in my lap—he didn’t care what time of day it was, or what the research said.
He just fell asleep, and kept sleeping until something disturbed him or he felt like waking up.
We could wake up at 7 AM, and he would take a nap at 9 AM—or 10 or 11, or any other time of day or night.
One thing any dog owner can tell you is that dogs do not care what time of day it is; they just sleep whenever they feel like it.
My puppy doesn’t care one bit whether it’s morning or night or what other people think of him—when he’s feeling sleepy he just goes to sleep.
Sleep Like a Dog: When You’re Tired, Just Sleep
That’s where I got the idea to sleep like my dog.
Now, when I’m tired, I just go to sleep. I could have woken up at 7 AM, eaten breakfast, gotten some work done around the house, and be tired by 9 AM. If that’s the case, I just take a nap. Within 30-45 minutes, I usually wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go.
Sometimes I still feel a bit groggy after a nap, but I’ve found that taking a quick walk or doing a little bit of exercise helps me wake back up and feel energized and ready to take on anything and everything.
My simple sleep habit couldn’t be any simpler: when I’m tired, I just go to sleep.
I don’t care what other people think. If I have dinner plans, but I’m tired, I just go to sleep and cancel my plans.
What’s more important than my health and getting enough sleep? Certainly not eating out at a restaurant, attending a party, or making sure I watch the newest episode of Game of Thrones.
All that stuff can wait—and when I’m better rested, it turns out I enjoy all my leisure and work activities a whole lot more.
There are several essential oils for sleep that you can use alongside the traditional tricks to help you sleep: 19 Best Essential Oils for Sleep
Why the Simple Sleep Habit Works: The things we do instead of sleeping..
When I first started to implement this radical new sleeping habit, I started to realize all the crazy things I had been doing before to avoid sleep: playing video games, watching TV, reading and eating were the biggest ones for me.
One day I decided that whenever I felt like playing video games, I would just take a nap or go to sleep for the night instead.
Guess what happened? Every time I fell asleep, or at least got some much-needed rest relaxing in bed.
I felt much better than I would have playing video games or watching TV instead.
For me, it turned out that a lot of the things I did to “just relax” were simply ways of avoiding sleep. And when I started to actually get the sleep I needed and listen to my body, I didn’t need to spend so much time “just relaxing.”
Sleep and Shame
One of the things I realized on my journey to finding my perfect sleep schedule is that there is a lot of shame around sleep in our culture.
Some people view my simple sleep habit with a bit of disdain.
If you wake up in the morning and then get tired a few hours later, a lot of folks will try to shame you for that. They’ll call you lazy or tell you to just “suck it up.”
“Hey, maybe you have chronic fatigue syndrome or a serious sleep condition. You should really get that checked out!”
And hey, maybe you do; I’m no doctor.
But what I found for me was that I don’t have any sleep disorders or conditions that couldn’t be cured by a good nap or two and a good night’s rest.
Do What Feels Best For You
I was at a workshop with an ultra-successful entrepreneur who had recently sold his business and started living a spiritual life. He told me that when he wakes up in the morning, he just lays in bed, relaxes under the covers, and rests there until he feels like getting up—sometimes for an hour or more.
I said, “Hey, I love doing that—it feels great! But I always thought it wasn’t good for me to just lay around in bed after waking up?”
He said, “I don’t know about you, but it’s great for me!”
And here I grew up thinking you had to wake up early.
“Rise and shine!”
“Don’t lay around wasting time—sleep is for wusses!”
You know, you’ve got to get up early so you can go to school. Then, when you’re all grown up, you’ve got to “get up and at ‘em” and get to work bright and early each day.
Were we really meant to live like this? Like robots, just following a computer program that tells us what time to go to bed and what time to wake up to our alarm clock?
Or is there a better way?
Here’s a radical idea: maybe your body isn’t stupid or malfunctioning when you’re tired. What if your body just happened to be working perfectly?
Think about it: we evolved over millions of generations to sleep the way we do. Our body is designed to give us the sensation of being tired when we need to sleep. When you think about it, your body is better designed than anything humans have ever built or even imagined.
Instead of trying to medicate and analyze and dictate our sleep into the perfect set pattern, what if we just listened to our bodies?
That’s what I do now, and I can tell you one thing for sure: I’ll never go back.
When I’m tired, I just go to sleep.
It’s a simple sleep habit that has helped me be healthier, happier, and a whole lot more productive to boot.
If you still feel my simple sleep habit may not be for you, why not check out Steve's more post Sleep Hacking: 28 sleep Gadgets, Tools, and Hacks. It has some pretty interesting classic methods of getting a good night's sleep.
I am sticking to my simple sleep habit, and loving every minute of it.
About the Author
Tom Corson-Knowles is the international bestselling author of 27 books including The Kindle Publishing Bible, founder of TCK Publishing, a book publishing company specializing in digital marketing, and host of The Publishing Profits Podcast Show.
Tom has taught more than 50,000 authors how to write, publish and market their books professionally through his online training courses, including Ebook Publishing School, a free training program that shows authors how to publish and launch their first book.
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