Many of my clients get stuck in this cycle:
You work late and finally crawl into bed absolutely wiped out. But you can’t fall asleep because your mind is still racing.
Oooo! You finally do fall asleep! But then you wake up in the middle of the night. You can’t go back to sleep, so you get up and work some more.
You’re completely exhausted the next day, so you get cranked up on caffeine to make it through. But now you’re not tired when bedtime rolls around because you’ve still got caffeine or energy drinks in your system, plus a ton of stuff buzzing around in your head.
“There’s so much still to do!” “There’s no time for a good night’s sleep!” Even if you want to sleep, how can you when your brain won’t turn off?
As A Fail-Safe, Implement A Mind Liberation
Go-getters have heads that are full of ideas — the ideal conversation to solve a customer’s dilemma, the next great business venture, the next awesome marketing plan, an amazing blog idea, the most incredible new product, the perfect power-team partnership, the...thoughts are endless.
It’s because we cram so much up there that we fear forgetting one of those things. So this leads to worries getting added to the mix. When you have too much floating around in your brain, all those great ideas and plans get imprisoned, and often the worries get pushed to the forefront.
How do you relieve this cramped holding cell and set your great ideas and thoughts free? I recommend to my clients that they complete a Mind Liberation a minimum of once a week. For my clients with sleep issues, I recommend that they do this every evening.
Get all the ideas out of your head and onto paper or into your phone or computer. Purge your mind to make room for the creativity that needs to happen in order for you to take action and implement the thoughts and ideas that have been swirling around up there. Capture all your thoughts to relieve your worry about the possibility of forgetting something. Get it all out of your head:
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What you’re excited about
What you’re worried about
Things you need to do tomorrow
Things you need to do someday
Anything that’s swirling in your brain
You can capture all these thoughts in one continuous list, or you can create a new document each time. The key is, do this any day you’re feeling like your head has too much internal action, or if you constantly worry about forgetting something.
Empty your head of thoughts, and then decompress and completely relax well before bedtime.
- Complete a Mind Liberation every day.
- Refrain from eating food or drinking non-water liquids starting two hours before bedtime.
- Turn off all electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Spend the last 30 minutes before bedtime just relaxing, not thinking about work.
- Take 10 deep breaths before you hit the hay.
What causes insomnia? According to the Mayo Clinic:
Change in environment or work schedule
Poor sleep habits
Caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol
Eating too much late in the evening
Note: Some types of insomnia are caused by medical conditions, so be sure to see a medical professional if there is any possibility of this.
Even if you love your job, there can be stress and anxiety at various times because of the tasks or projects you have on your plate. Emptying your brain at the end of the day will help your mind to shut down when it’s time to sleep. Therefore, complete a Mind Liberation every day — if necessary, definitely before your 30 minutes of downtime prior to going to bed.
Refrain from eating food or drinking non-water liquids starting two hours before bedtime. Many times, what we ingest shortly before bedtime contributes to keeping us up at night. Sugar and caffeine can definitely keep us awake longer. But sometimes we’re not aware of how other foods affect us — ones that also prevent us from going to sleep sooner.
Turn off all electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime. (Some studies recommend 60.) Research shows that electronics stimulate our brains. If our brains get stimulated through watching television or checking our phone or reading a tablet right before bed, that will increase the amount of time it will take for us to fall asleep.
There should be zero decisions made or thoughts generated during this downtime. So no reading business or self-help books that give you ideas to implement. That’s right, don’t even read this one right before bed. I ask you to think a lot throughout this book, and that gets your brain pumped up, which is not what you want to do before bed. Even a simple game of solitaire gets the brain cranked up because you have to decide which card to play. Instead, read mindless fiction or low-brain nonfiction like biographies or celebrity gossip rags, or meditate.
Take 10 deep breaths before you hit the hay. Breathing clears your mind, slows down your pace, and calms you down.
If for any reason you still wake up in the middle of the night, do not get up to do “just a little bit of work.” You most likely will not fall back asleep again because your brain will be up and running. Instead, complete another Mind Liberation. Read something low-key for a little while. Then turn off the light.
I used to call this “entrepreneurial insomnia” because so many of the business owners I worked with suffered from this lack of sleep. But when I started working more and more with folks who were employed by companies — from admin to the C-suite — I discovered that this type of insomnia doesn’t plague only entrepreneurs. It hits anybody with high levels of stress, worries, and/or ideas overload.
Relieving your mind of this burden and letting it rest are essential to being a good businessperson. When your brain has clarity, the mind is calm, and from a calm mind comes creativity and better decision making.
©2016 by Helene Segura. Used with permission of
New World Library, Novato, CA. www.newworldlibrary.com
About the Author
Helene Segura, MAEd, CPO, has spoken to thousands of go-getters, teaching them to manage stress by regaining control of their chaotic work and personal lives. She has coached hundreds of clients to improve their personal productivity and performance by applying neuroscience and behavioral modification techniques to wipe out destructive, time-wasting habits. Helene has been featured as an organizational expert in more than 100 media appearances. Visit her website at www.HeleneSegura.com