After reading the heading, you are probably wondering what sleep has got to do with everything we’ve been talking about. Today, I decided to share my personal experience, which you may be able to relate with, and how one decision I took on sleeping changed my life, Literally. Brace yourself up for a long read.
If you approached me a few years ago and asked me what time of the day I functioned best, my answer would be “at night”. I have always been nocturnal. I not only enjoy working at night, my creativity is activated in dark spaces. So on a good day, I could be found working in a poorly lit room.
I was the kind of person who would work well into 4 a.m. What sleep? Sleep is for the weak or so I thought. Lol. However I discovered that with this sleep routine, I was tired, disorganized and ineffective on most days.
Picture me, after sleeping by 4 a.m, I would wake up by 6 a.m to prep the family for their day; husband to work, daughter to school, baby for the day and when I’m done and everyone was sorted, I would go back to complete my back log of sleep. Before I realize, it’s time for school pick-up, and time to start sorting dinner.
I would literally go through the day feeling guilty, unaccomplished and “useless”. My only succor and relief was that I was going to work till 4 a.m again.
What I should have realized early was that as I became a mum and evolved into an entrepreneur who works from home, I couldn’t afford that kind of lifestyle. Despite what I wanted to believe about myself being nocturnal, my new life demanded that I put other factors into consideration. I now had a family who would need my attention during the day, I now had a business whose clients and prospects would only be available during the day. Other activities in relation to the effective running of my household needed to be done during the day and me NOT sleeping at the right time was ruining my chances at being a great woman in business and at the home front.
I realized that my most productive time of the day was when my daughter was off to school and baby was having his morning nap. Which means, I HAD to be sleeping at night if I wanted to be awake at that time of the day. Children sleep at night and they DO NOT care if you don’t. They will expend their energy during the day regardless. I went through each day feeling bad for telling my daughter each time she wanted to play “Mummy is tired, she needs to rest”.
Also, my business clients and prospects work only during the day and if I wasn’t responding promptly to communication, I would loose my credibility, opportunities and ultimately money. So who was I deceiving by insisting on being nocturnal?
I quickly talked some sense into my brain and placed myself on a sleep routine. I calculated the number of hours I needed to sleep to wake up energized the next day and determined what time was best to sleep to achieve that number of sleep hours. Once it gets to that time of the night, I shut everything down to sleep.
As you may imagine, I cannot tell you all the difference that one decision made in my life. It literally changed EVERYTHING. I was energized and more equipped to handle things at the right times of the day.
So I know you may have heard from social media and motivational speakers how that successful people sleep for certain number of hours or how that they work at certain times of the day when others are resting. These subtle messaging which you have allowed to settle in your mind now has you thinking that sleep is the enemy. So you do everything to keep yourself from getting the sleep your body needs, or you choose not to sleep when others are because you want to be perceived as hardworking.
Not sleeping at the right time and lack of sufficient sleep is the reason you are tired day in day out, even when you haven’t done so much.
My experiential advice to you is that: You know yourself. You know your home and your family and how it runs. You know your business and what it demands that you do to keep it running successfully. And from our previous discussions, you now know the number of productive hours you have during the day. Nature will always take it’s course whether you like it or not. So. if you must be productive and effective at the right time during the day, then you must also sleep at the right time.
Sleep is not your enemy. Too much and the lack of it IS.
Spend time today calculating how many hours of good sleep your body needs, and determine when the right time to sleep is. Then device a means to make it happen.
I have learnt to sleep. You should to.