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A few months ago, I wrote about how I was trying to “sleep my way to better health” by focusing on getting good quality sleep and putting a priority on going to bed early. I even challenged myself to go to bed early enough each night for 30 days so that I would be able to get a solid 8 hours of sleep every night.
And, how did I do with this sleep challenge?
Well . . . let’s just say there’s still plenty of room for improvement in my sleeping habits!
I did pretty well in the beginning with trying to go to bed early and follow the “early to bed, early to rise” principle, but . . . then I kind of dropped the ball. Little by little I slowly slipped back into my old habits of going to bed later, and later, and later, until I ended up pretty much back where I started.
This month, though, I’m determined to get better sleep! I just read The Sleep Solution by Emily Benfit of Butter Believer, and reading that book has really renewed my focus on sleep and re-motivated me to make sleep the priority that it needs to be.
Sleep is something that is extremely beneficial to our bodies at every level, and, the more I read about sleep, the more I’m convinced that getting better sleep is truly one of the most important things we can do for our health.
These are just some of the many benefits listed in The Sleep Solution of getting better sleep:
- Physical repair and energy
- Memory and brain function
- Hormonal health
- Anxiety and mood disorders
- Metabolism and obesity
- Diabetes and insulin sensitivity
- Cardiovascular health
- Mortality and life expectancy
Wow! That’s a pretty comprehensive list, especially when you consider the fact that these are pretty broad categories. I mean, just think of all of the things that could fall under the description of “physical repair and energy”!
Sleep really does effect everything!
I think I need to type up this list of sleep benefits and post it by my bed so I won’t be tempted to stay up later doing “just one more thing.”
It’s easy to think of all of the benefits of getting a good night of sleep, but it’s a little bit harder when it comes to actually shutting off the light and going to bed.
I know sleep is really important, and I know how good it is for my body to get a full night of sleep, but when the time comes to shut off the light, I suddenly seem to think of a thousand things I need or want to do, and I end up procrastinating on actually going to sleep. Yes, for some strange reason, I actually procrastinate on sleeping!
The 30-Day Sleep Challenge
Ok, time to do the 30-day sleep challenge, for real this time!
Here’s how it works for everyone who wants to join me:
1) Pick a Reasonable Goal
If your used to going to bed at midnight, it’s probably not the best idea to suddenly try to be in bed by 10:00 every night. Try to pick a bedtime that you think you can stick to on a consistent basis for the month, and then the next month you can work on trying to do even better.
For the next 30 days, my goal is to be in bed with the lights shut off by 10:45. Kind of a random time, I know, but it’s a time I think I can commit to, and I really want to actually finish the 30-day challenge this time rather than quitting half-way through! Eventually, I’d like to set my goal to be in bed even earlier.
2) Pick a Fun Prize to Reward Yourself
Once you’ve set your goal, pick something fun as a reward that will motivate you to stick to your goal. It could be an actual object or just something fun that you plan to do. It doesn’t have to be anything big or expensive either. Just something that will feel a little extravagant and make you want to stick to the challenge.
If I achieve my goal, I’m going to buy this little travel purse from Amazon. It’s a little waterproof purse that would be perfect for storing makeup or even homemade lotions and other beauty products. They come in lots of different color and pattern choices, too, all of which are much cuter than the boring makeup case I’m using right now, so I’ll get to have some fun choosing which one to get 🙂
3) Do What You Need to Do to Reach Your Goal
Since I’ve set my bedtime at 10:45, I’m going to try to plan my evening around that time and start doing things earlier so that I can actually be in bed by the time I want to. That means that I’m going to make sure I’ve done everything that I need to do early enough in my day that I’m not trying to rush around at bed time folding laundry or packing a lunch for work. Time management has never exactly been one of my strong points, but this month I’m really going to try to work on that!
And, that’s it. Simple and easy. Just pick a goal, pick a prize, and make sure you follow through. (It’s that last step that always causes the problem for me!).
If you find yourself having a hard time falling asleep easily or waking up during the night and not being able to go back to sleep again, I’d definitely recommend trying some of the suggestions in The Sleep Solution. Having trouble sleeping can be soo frustrating, especially when you’re really trying hard to sleep better.
This book has some great ideas for now you can improve your sleeping habits naturally, without needing to resort to any sort of medications, and even some awesome “sleepy-time” recipes to help you fall to sleep more easily 🙂
So, who’s going to join me in the 30-day sleep challenge?!
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The information in this post is not to be taken as medical advice and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease.