3 Ways to Get Better Sleep, Tonight

How did you sleep last night?
 
Did you wake up well-rested and energized? Or, are you feeling tired and groggy? Did you have trouble falling or staying asleep?
 
The American Sleep Association (ASA) recommends 7-9 hours of sleep for adults. But, we definitely have trouble getting our zzzz’s in each night. The ASA estimates that sleep problems affects up to 70 million American adults!
 
Sleep is essential for our physical and mental health. Study after study tells us how sleep deprivation causes us to eat more, shrinks our brains, can cause false memories, and is linked to type 2 diabetes. 
 
Sleep deprivation has been used as a form of torture, and yet often, we willingly sleep too little or continue bad habits that stop us from getting good sleep. 
 
It really is our ethical responsibility to get plenty of sleep and rest. Our teams, colleagues, organizations, and our families need us to be at our best, to be able to think clearly, and make sound decisions. Lack of sleep can deeply compromise our decision-making ability and mood. 
 
But, despite the best of intentions there are times when getting the recommended 7-9 hours just doesn’t happen. Sometimes it just doesn’t feel possible (this pile of laundry is blocking the path to my bed and I can’t sleep until it’s done) or it’s totally out of our control (my toddler needs water….again). 
 
In today’s video I share three things you can do to get better sleep tonight, even on the nights when it’s less than you would like. 

1. Sleep in Complete Darkness

Melatonin is a hormone that rises at night and helps us go to (and stay) asleep. However, it is very light sensitive. For it to rise and be effective, your surroundings have to be completely dark. Make sure your bedroom is completely dark so that melatonin can do its job. Turn off night-lights, cover lights from electronics, and get room-darkening shades. If you need a night-light, choose one with a red bulb. Red light does not interfere with melatonin production.

2. Unplug Before Bed

Remember that little hormone melatonin we just talked about? Well, staring at a computer or your phone before bed also obstructs melatonin from rising properly. Your bedtime Facebook scrolling could be the cause for your sleepless night! Turn off all electronics at least an hour before bed to get your body ready for sleep. Instead, read a book, do some stretching, or enjoy a cup of tea. Next, get a real alarm clock. You know, the kind you plug into the wall and has numbers on it? They still sell those antiques at most stores! That way you don’t have to use your phone as an alarm clock. Instead, charge it overnight in a different room so you’re not tempted to check your email and compromise your melatonin production. 

3. Create a Comfortable Bed and Bedroom

Your bed should be a place that you look forward to relaxing and sleeping in. If there is something about your bed or bedroom that is uncomfortable, then change it. Is your mattress old and uncomfortable? Are your sheets too hot or too cold? Maybe your pillows are lumpy or too flat.
 
Be sure to watch the video where I share how changing our blankets has helped me and my husband sleep so much better!
 
I want to hear from you! Do you have any tricks for getting a good night’s sleep? Share your tips and tricks in the comments!
 

Tanya McCausland is the COO at Diamond6 Leadership and a Holistic Nutrition Consultant. She is board certified by the National Association of Nutrition Professionals and teaches executive wellness to leaders at all levels. 

THIS Is More Important Than Leadership Development

When is the last time you did something for yourself? Say, attended a fitness class, went for a walk, got a massage, or went away for the weekend?
 
Or, if you do those things perhaps you feel a little tinge of guilt? A little voice in your head saying,“You don’t deserve to spend an hour of your day in a yoga class. You have too much to do!”
 
We have this idea that in order to be a successful and effective leader who is well-respected by colleagues and subordinates we should be working all the time. We should fill our days with meetings, phone calls, emails, and be accessible 24/7. And if by some miracle we have an open spot in our calendar or a free hour of time we immediately feel guilty for not being productive. Better fill that open time with some work!
 
Our lives are hectic by nature, there’s no doubt about that. Technology makes us available anytime, anywhere. Sure there are positives to this – we are no longer tied to our desks and can take the occasional conference call while driving kids to piano lessons. But, that means we let work infiltrate more and more into our personal lives. It’s a delicate AND very hard balance to keep. One that most of us are not so great at. 
 
On top of being constantly connected (a relatively new phenomena), family life is looking very different than it did just 30 years ago. Now mom AND dad are going to work. According to a 2015 Pew Research Center report, 46% of American households have two full-time working parents. Trying to juggle work, meetings, getting kids to school, after school activities, and get some semblance of dinner on the table can feel like a feat of epic proportions – even on a relatively “slow day.” 
 
So, how can we do it all without burning ourselves out? 
 
With all that on our plates it seems impossible to make time for ourselves. And yet, it’s the only thing that can keep us going. Self-care is what fills your tank so you can get things ($hitdone AND do it all with clarity, patience, and grace. It’s essential and vital to being a successful and effective leader and the piece that many are missing.
 
In this McCausland Monday video, I share with you three very simple ways to practice self-care without taking up too much of the limited time you have. Plus, I discuss why modeling self-care is a powerful way to lead – your organization, your community, and your family. 
 
 
I want to hear from you! Tell me in the comments below…..
 
What self-care habits do you practice regularly that help you fill your tank?
What kind of classes or services does your organization offer that help taking care of yourself easier?

Tanya McCausland is the COO at Diamond6 Leadership and a Holistic Nutrition Consultant. She is board certified by the National Association of Nutrition Professionals and teaches executive wellness to leaders at all levels.