Every week the results of a new study seem to be revealed about the potential risks of not getting enough sleep. A weakened immune system, impaired memory, slower metabolism, lower productivity and just plain grumpiness are reported as the results of consistently not getting the recommended seven to eight hours sleep each night.
Does this mean though, that if we all slept the recommended hours we would be healthier, thinner and happier? Well, for someone who probably falls a little short of the seven hours, starting with something as simple as going to bed earlier seems like a good place to commence my happiness project.
I have children so yes, I did live through the years of interrupted sleep, often getting through foggy days with endless cups of tea. I am now, like most mothers, programmed to wake at the first cough however as my children are now older, they can no longer be my excuse for not getting an adequate amount of sleep.
The first step will be for me to decide what time I need to be asleep by. My alarm goes off at 6am so counting back eight hours will mean I need to be asleep between 10 and 11pm. Seems easy enough and I am usually in bed by 10. But being in bed and asleep are obviously two different things.
I am someone who has always loved to read. Going to bed and reading a few pages of my current book is pure bliss for me. And I used to do this, go to bed, pick up my book, read a few pages until my eyes started to get heavy and then I would be asleep within a few minutes.
Now with the wealth of information I have at my fingertips, I have gotten into the habit of taking my iphone to bed with me. I’m a busy person so doing this gives me time to check and reply to emails, check social media, take my turn in my ongoing Words with Friends games, play a bit of solitaire etc etc. And for some reason my eyes don’t start to droop – I stay quite alert. I have swapped my peaceful, sleep inducing read for a bombardment of activity and entertainment. The first thing I need to do is to say an early goodnight to technology.
So now my iphone will be turned off and put away safely for the night in it’s own room – my study. I will go back to my book, read until my chin starts to hit my chest and aim for that optimum eight hours of sleep. If this little activity can lead to a stronger immune system, better memory (yes please!), faster metabolism, improved productivity and my ultimate goal, happiness, I’ll be well, very happy.
Getting to sleep earlier is my first happiness project activity. I have created a resolution chart (which you will soon be able to download under my Free Resources tab) to not only help me create a routine but to demonstrate accountability around happiness activities. I’ve always been someone who likes to get all ticks, not enjoying the crosses, so I’m hoping a resolution chart filled with ticks will be my carrot to succeed.
Will getting to sleep earlier make me happier or will it make no difference? I’ll let you know.
Wish me luck….