I talk a great deal about the importance of adding sleep as a part of your lifestyle. What you need to know is how to set and add this to your lifestyle. This is the time of year that most people are setting resolutions or making change; the truth is that most people do not follow through because they do not know how to set a goal that will motivate them to change.
The theory of SMART goal setting is sound but there is a significant key that is missing. The true motivation for the goal. This is not I want more energy or a healthy lifestyle but is something that is personal and is emotionally significant.
I come from a long line of women who develop cancer. Poor sleep can contribute to this condition. I know it is an issue but it is not something that will drive me to change. I am also going to college for my MBA. I am quite passionate about school because it affects my self-worth, my career and education really revs up my life. I know that in order for me to be a successful student I need to be well rested. That will allow me to think clearly so I can take in new information, write papers and take quizzes. This is much more likely to motivate me to change my sleep pattern so I will be more successful in school. Now that I have this emotional motivation I can create my SMART goal to achieve.
I will go to bed at 9:30 pm on weeknights and 10:30 pm on weekends (this hour difference is not drastic and allows me time to be with my son in the evenings on the weekends). I will meet this bed time 26 out of 30 days a month. I will share this with my mentor so I can be held accountable. This goal is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time specific. It allows me to not be perfect. It takes into account what I need to do to achieve it.
If I want to get more specific I would include my sleep routine that would start at 9 pm and would include my 10 minutes of yoga, 15 minutes of reading and 5 minutes of night-time hygiene. The more specific it is the more likely I am to follow through.
Once I have achieved one goal as part of my lifestyle than I can add a second goal. I would rather be successful at one thing than to fail at multiple things because I was unable to balance all my expectations.
When we think about health we usually think about disease control or weight or maybe even wellness. One of the few things that will affect all these areas is sleep. If you make sleep your priority you will not only affect your health but you will start to create optimal wellness.
Sleep research has found that sleep deprivation contributes to multiple issues such as dementia, colon cancer and diabetes. Not to mention the daily issues of poor memory, fatigue and the lack of focus that can keep a person from reaching their goals.
So how do we improve our sleep so we can improve ort health? Most people believe that they are short sleepers and that they only need to sleep 5 to 6 hours a night. This is not true. The average person needs 7 to 8 hours. Younger people need even more. But we need to train our body to sleep. Our brains work like computers and like a routine to tell us what to do. They want to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time. They like to do the same thing before we go to sleep. That means we need to create a sleep routine just like when our patents created one for us when we were kids. It needs to be between 20 and 40 minutes long and it needs to be personalized so that we are comfortable with it. The following are some suggestions for creating a personal sleep routine.