Few things are more important to your overall well-being than sleep. Sleep impacts you physically, mentally, and emotionally. In fact, if you review your past a bit, chances are you’ll find that a great number of the bad decisions you’ve made in the past came either late at night, or after a lack of quality sleep. Even though sleep is critical to our health, many of us ignore its importance and have too many nights when we either sleep fitfully or not at all. I have a quote by Victor Hugo (see above) pinned above my desk to serve as inspiration and a reminder. Launching off of that quote, here are a couple of things you can do to improve your sleep and thereby improve your life:
Stay Courageous (Have courage for the great sorrows of life…)
Courage is not a lack of fear. It’s continuing to move your feet in the presence of fear. There will be moments in your life that will break your heart and cause you to fear, it’s inevitable. Sorrows are a part of life. Even though you will experience fear, you do not have to allow that fear to control you. Courage is what happens when you continue to push forward in life when everything inside of you wants to quit or give up. Over time that sort of courage will actually cause our fear to diminish, so stay courageous!
Stay Patient (…and patience for the small ones…)
There are times when it feels that you will never get where you want to go. A thousand things seem to get in your way, slow you down, and cause you to doubt yourself. Obsessing over all of the little challenges in life (which don’t always feel so little) will keep your brain in constant, futile motion, and will rob you of sleep. So, stay patient and stay the course. Keep doing what you believe in. Keep dreaming. When your mind is filled with hopes for tomorrow instead of dread, sleep comes more easily.
Work Hard (…and when you have laboriously…)
Nothing in life comes easy, so whatever you are looking to accomplish or achieve will likely require a great deal from you. Investing your blood, sweat, and tears in something you believe in is exhausting, but it’s the sort of exhausting that leads to restful sleep. So work hard at whatever is in front of you, and when it comes time to rest, you’ll be glad you did.
Stay in today (…accomplished your daily task…)
This may be the toughest of the four things mentioned so far. We all have daily tasks and responsibilities, and looking ahead to plan for the future is a not a bad thing. Living in the future, however, is another thing entirely. As much as we would like to, we cannot go back and change our past. Also, we cannot zoom ahead to next Thursday to see what problems might be lurking for us there. All that we can control is the moments that we have in the present. When we stay present to our current place and time, life feels more manageable. There is a clear place to begin, and when it’s time for bed, a clear time to stop. As you crawl into bed, give yourself permission to sleep, reminding yourself that you can’t crawl into tomorrow until tomorrow comes.
If life feels chaotic and your head feels cloudy, sleep is the first suspect to investigate. I hope these thoughts help you find peaceful sleep and much needed rest.