Do you ever feel so tired you have to force yourself to stay awake? Do small problems sometimes elicit big emotional reactions? Do you get things done through sheer willpower even though you’re exhausted?
You may not be getting adequate rest.
I certainly saw a huge leap in my ability to react appropriately, get things done, achieve physical goals, and see situations more clearly when I made getting adequate rest a priority and worked my life around that. And I see those things deteriorate if I don’t consistently follow my self-prescribed guidelines for getting enough sleep.
What I also noticed, however, was that getting tied to a specific number of hours of sleep or type of rest created limiting beliefs about what I could and could not do. If I didn’t get that magic number of hours of sleep one night, I would expect to feel bad and struggle the next day. And so I would.
But did it have to be that way?
One day I asked myself if getting that certain number of hours of sleep every night was a Universal Truth, meaning it is True no matter who, no matter what? I recognized that it wasn’t. I could actually point to several high-functioning people who consistently got less sleep and did just fine.
This meant that a certain number of hours was then generally true for me. Those magic hours were still the goal I wanted to shoot for, but that if for some reason I didn’t get those hours it didn’t automatically mean that my day would be an energetic struggle. In other words, I could occasionally get less sleep and still have a great day.
So I began changing my thoughts about sleep. If I naturally woke up in the middle of the night, I asked myself what I wanted to do. Did I want to get up and accomplish something? Relax and meditate? Ponder what I would consider the perfect solution to a situation? Or just bask in appreciation of my life and the world?
And occasionally things come up in the evening that mean I don’t make my bedtime, and sometimes, I just make a different choice.
In all of these situations I give myself permission to do what feels right and still get up and feel vibrant, alive, and eager the next day.
I still strive to consistently get that magic number of hours of sleep every night, but my goal now is to get adequate rest—whatever that looks like on any given night. And I can monitor my energy levels to let me know if I’m tilting toward needing more sleep.
What does adequate rest mean for you? How does getting adequate rest impact your energy levels? Where might you be creating limiting beliefs about the amount of sleep you are or are not getting? How does getting adequate rest impact the quality of your life?
Together we can do it!