TWO REASONS SLEEP IS A BIG DEAL

Time change weeks come around twice a year to the dismay of practically everyone. I always read the stories about why it should stop. While I’m not passionate about that, I realize that the older I get, the more I notice the time change. I takes me about a week to get back to a regular pattern.

For a long time now, my rhythm has been to go to bed between 9:00 and 9:30 pm and wake up between 4:45 and 5:00 am. I know some people are larks and others are owls. Most of my life, I have naturally fallen in the early to rise category, no matter what time I fall asleep. I’m grateful for this rhythm because I get so much done between 5:00 and 7:30 am. I’m not sure what I would do without that time slot carved into my daily routine.

Writing down my morning routine helps me stay accountable for things I consider important and sharing it may help someone else. Everyone has their own rhythm and work/energy flow, so do what works for you – no pressure from me!

My Morning Routine

My morning routine takes about 2 hours until I’m ready to officially start the day:

  • Picking up everything I’ve laid out the night before (Fitbit, clothes, socks, and shoes).
  • Heading downstairs where my devices are plugged in.
  • Checking notifications I missed from the night before.
  • Listening to the one-year Bible while typing thoughts and prayers into my journal.
  • Writing in my journal and blogs.
  • Reading and exercising (no specific order) with a goal of “Four Before The Door” (at least 4000 steps, about two miles, before I leave for the day).
  • Eating breakfast and showering.
  • Creating a list of things I want to make happen during the day and scheduling it all out.

I’ve heard it said that if you spend each day well, your life will take care of itself.

This leads me to why sleep is so critical. I’ve learned a lot from a book called Brain Rules by John Medina. When we sleep well, we think well.

OUR BRAINS

Our brains are in a constant tension between chemicals and cells that try to get us to go to sleep and those that try to energize us to stay awake. Routine helps us balance these.

1) ATTENTION AND 2) FOCUS

Good sleep habits bring incredible attention and focus. Loss of sleep hurts attention, executive function, memory, and mood. Too little sleep can even mess up reasoning and motor skills, which is why it’s a bad idea to drive or make major decisions when you’re too tired.

Getting the right amount of sleep is a huge foundation for a day of focus. Too many of us think we sleep because we’re tired from the day. But a few years back, someone mentioned to me that turning that around is more motivating: A good night’s sleep is preparation for an incredible tomorrow.

Our brains want to be healthy. They desire good input. They need sleep to replay the day and decompress. In return, the gift our brains give to us during the day is attention and focus. Our world needs more of that!

My Evening Routine

It may sound crazy, but I begin my sleep routine as soon as I get home by situating a couple things to start the process. These quick steps signal to my brain that evening has approached:

  • Not watching stuff on the screen late in the evening.
  • Making sure to charge my phone in the other room (I quit sleeping with a phone beside my bed because it’s too distracting and tempting).
  • Setting myself up for a good night’s sleep.

Being tired this week due to the time change has caused me to re-commit to making sure my routines are intact. Tomorrow matters and I want to be able to pay attention and focus on what needs to be done.

Here’s the book that I’ve been reading: Brain Rules by John Medina.


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