We all know how important sleep is. Without it, we feel a lack of energy and mental clarity the next day. So if you love yourself, then you’ll get enough sleep tonight.
That’s exactly what I’ve been telling myself lately.
Over the last few years, I haven’t been getting quality sleep. I’ve also been lacking quantity — meaning, I’ve kept up a routine where I haven’t been sleeping enough.
But that changed last month, when I decided to make sleep a top priority in my life. I’ve been progressing slowly, but with consistency.
I usually track 8–9 hours of sleep per night. And if I happen to skimp on my nightly slumber, then the next day I’m sure to take a nap in the afternoon to offset my sleep debt.
I formed bad habits in my teens and early twenties like many people, which carried over for the next decade. These habits are hard to break, especially when you’re trying to advance your corporate career or working on a side hustle (i.e. my writing).
To break this habit, I’ve had to willingly, with purposeful awareness, tell myself I can do this one thing tomorrow. That one thing could be reading a book, watching a favorite TV show, or replying to a few more work emails. It can be anything that has latched onto my concentration. But I know at some point, the sooner the better, I must get adequate sleep.
I’m currently tracking my sleep patterns with the AutoSleep app on my Apple Watch and iPhone. I’ve had the app and been using it off-and-on for the last year, but haven’t been paying attention to it.
I recently switched to wearing my Apple Watch to bed so AutoSleep now automatically tracks the time it takes to fall asleep, light and deep sleep, and total time in bed.
It’s been a wake-up call to my health. As without sufficient nightly sleep, I lack energy and clarity the next day. No amount caffeine seems to offset a huge sleep debt.
Also, the total time in bed isn’t the same as the time I’ve been asleep for. By looking at the data, I can see that parts of the night I wake up — usually without being aware of it. Waking up in the night takes away from total sleep quality and quantity. For example, I may be in bed for 9 hours, however, I may have only been fully asleep (light and deep sleep) for a total of 8 hours.
For anyone that wants to get a full 8 hours of sleep, I recommend giving yourself 9 or more hours in bed. This adjustment to your sleep ritual accounts for the time it takes to fall asleep and for any parts of the night where you wake up.
Let me remind you, as the title of this blog post reads, “If you love yourself, then you’ll get enough sleep tonight.”