As a determined, ambitious, successful professional, how often do you feel like you have the luxury to go home, relax, and detach from your responsibilities?
If your answer is “never”, you’re not alone.
We live in such a connected world that your problems from work don’t stay quietly at the office until the next business day. Instead, they follow you home on your laptop and cellphone.
This world of instant communication and constant connection may have its perks, but as an ambitious professional, it also robs you of your natural ability to unwind at the end of a long day. We all know what it’s like to endure night after night of low-quality sleep. We all know what it’s like to wake up feeling like something chewed us up and spit us out.
When your cell phone has become the remote control to your life and you don’t have the ability to distance yourself from constant stimulation and provocation, is it possible to improve your sleep habits?
Yes, it actually is, and it won’t be nearly as difficult as you think! In fact, you’re probably already using a handful of smart sleeping techniques without realizing it. If you can learn to optimize your sleep habits, you’ll finally be able to get the rest you need and protect yourself from the numerous dangers of sleep deprivation.
Successful People And Sleep: What’s The Link?
As we grow up, we instinctively know how to eat, but that doesn’t mean we do it well. We might choose donuts instead of carrots or skip lunch when the day becomes too busy. Maintaining a healthy, life-sustaining diet takes time, effort, and commitment.
As it turns out, maintaining healthy, life-sustaining sleep habits is no different!
Nobody gets good sleep by accident. The high-powered professionals who do wake each morning feeling rejuvenated fall into one of two categories. Either they were lucky enough to establish strong sleep habits that have served them for decades, or they recognized they had a problem and sought help.
If you’re not getting the rejuvenating, restful sleep that you need to thrive, it’s likely that bad habits have gradually disrupted your routine over time. Whether you’re looking at a screen until midnight, taking that last work call at 10PM, or pouring a third cocktail after dinner, some of your habits stand between you and the quality sleep you crave.
The Very Real Dangers of Sleep Deprivation
We’ve all heard tragic stories of drivers who fall asleep at the wheel of their car and crash into a tree or another vehicle. Those stories may be extreme, but they emphasize just how dramatically a lack of sleep can impact the human body and mind.
Beyond feeling irritable and coping with brain fog, pushing through years or even decades of your life on too little sleep may cause the following health problems:
- Lack of impulse control, which leads to unhealthy behaviors
- Diminished short- and long-term memory
- Increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity
- Inefficient immune system
- Reduced sex drive and stamina
- Anxiety and depression
You want to enjoy the life you’ve earned for yourself, and there’s no doubt that the consequences of sleep deprivation have the power to diminish your quality of life. The time to make a change is right now!
How To Improve Your Sleep Habits
Think back to your teenage years. You pushed hard all day long, right? You exerted yourself through eight hours of school, emotional highs and lows, academic strain, athletics and extracurricular activities, homework, studying, and many other responsibilities. By the time your head it the pillow, there was no debating- you effortlessly passed out from exhaustion.
Now, as an adult, things are entirely different. You still push hard all day long, but with less physical expenditure and more responsibility, laying down rarely leads to instant slumber.
Fortunately, improving your sleep habits isn’t a complicated task. You don’t need to make dramatic, sweeping changes to your life or routine. If you can follow these two tips, you can finally get the sleep you need and deserve.
Get 60 Minutes of Physical Exertion Every Day
You can’t expect to exhaust your body when you’re sitting down all day. Even if you feel busy all day, how much of that activity requires physical exertion or energy?
By incorporating more physical activity into your daily routine, you’ll be able to exhaust your body and feel ready to collapse into a deep sleep at the end of each day. This doesn’t mean you need to start training for a marathon, but you do need to find creative ways to move.
Perhaps you’ll start taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Maybe you’ll park in the very back of the parking lot or spend your lunch breaks walking briskly around your office building. Some executives even purchase treadmill desks so that they can walk and work simultaneously.
Stick to the methods that work best for your own lifestyle, needs, and preferences, just as long as you can enjoy 60 minutes of physical exertion every day.
Carve Out 60 Minutes of Quiet Time Before Bed
Consider how parents put their young children to sleep. They create a soothing, quiet routine that gets repeated every single night. Bath time, story time, lights out. This predictable and serene routine creates a neurologic stimulus that prepares babies to enter a deep sleep.
Babies aren’t the only ones who need this type of routine! Instead of taking last-minute phone calls or watching one final episode of your favorite Netflix series, you also need to carve out 60 minutes of quiet time for yourself before bed.
When you overstimulate yourself before bed, especially when that overstimulation is paired with very little physical activity, you create an epidemic of sleep disturbances for yourself. Break the cycle by creating a 60-minute window of minimal stimulation before you go to bed.
Consider that 60 minutes your hallowed ground of sleep preparation. Turn off the TV, set down your phone, and do whatever can help you relax. You might put on soft music, read a few chapters of your favorite book, make a cup of tea, or take a shower. Whatever works for you!
How To Get Better Sleep: The Bottom Line
It’s no secret that sleep rejuvenates and empowers your body and mind, and now you know exactly how to take action to get the high-quality sleep you need.
Instead of just crossing your fingers and hoping to sleep well, take the initiative to get more exercise every day, create a quiet buffer time at the end of each night, and avoid the bad habits you know will detract from your strategic sleep choices.
When you finally take your health and happiness back into your own hands, you’ll realize that anything is possible! If you need help your guidance along the way, we’re here to help you at Brentwood MD in Nashville, Tennessee.
As a member of Brentwood MD, you’ll be treated like family and enjoy the peace of mind that can only be gained from connecting with a physician who understands your unique goals and becomes your advocate for a better life. Call (615) 678-4638 to connect with us today and get on the fast track to a healthier version of yourself.
Dr. Aaron Wenzel is a concierge physician specializing in the care of fast-moving entrepreneurs, executives, and public figures in the Nashville, TN area. Dr. Wenzel’s diverse life experience and extensive training in family medicine, emergency care, nutrition, and hormone replacement therapies give him the unique platform to provide unmatched care for his patients.