- by Don
What if you could do one thing… just one thing that would make you feel better, both mentally and physically, improve your health, and make you more productive? In today's video I talk about one such thing. I give some tips on how to do it, and get brutally honest about my attempts to follow my own advice.
What if you could do one thing… just one thing that would make you feel better, both mentally and physically, improve your health, and make you more productive?
For me, there is such a thing: Getting more sleep.
I know that sleep is really important. I previously wrote about the importance of sleep. It’s called “Not Only Why You Can, But You SHOULD Sleep Your Way to Success.” You can find that article on my blog at RVBusinessCoach.com.
But sleep, unfortunately, is one of those “Do as I say, not as I do” areas for me.
But I'm taking steps to correct that, because judging from the number of times I was taking two naps a day, I was obviously pretty sleep deprived.. Not that napping is bad. Michael Hyatt makes a strong case for napping. But I've still got thing... Two naps a day? That's probably a little bit excessive.
Consequently, I started doing research on how to get more sleep. In doing so, I recently ran across Craig Ballentyne’s 10-3-2-1-0 method. Have you heard of it?
Here’s how it works:
- 10: The number of hours before bedtime that you stop consuming caffeine. Caffeine can stay in the body a long time, so step this gives your body time to get it completely out of your system before bedtime. If I'm being honest, I'm still working on that goal. I'm still having caffeine a "little bit" closer than 10 hours before bedtime.
- 3: The number of hours before bedtime that you stop consuming alcohol or eating heavy or spicy meals. The reason for this is that it gives your body time to fully digest that stuff so that by bedtime we're through digestion and are ready to sleep. Now, I'm doing pretty good on this piece of the goal.
- 2: The number of hours before bedtime that you stop doing any work. Doing work can get you upset, or get your mind keyed up trying to solve a problem, making it harder to relax at bedtime. I'm pretty good at stopping the "work work" 2 hours before bedtime, but sometimes I'm still workin on the personal stuff that late: things like paying bills or answering personal emails. So I'm definitely working on improving that goal.
- 1: The number of hours before bedtime that you stop using all electronics. Now, you've no doubt heard that most electronics emit blue light, which messes with your body’s natural sleep cycle. Blue light messes up our body's timing, making it more difficult to get to sleep. So stopping using electronics helps your body be ready for sleep. This is another one where I could improve a bit, although I am getting much better at it.
If you do all of those steps, and if you go to bed in time to give yourself enough sleep (8 hours on average), then you probably won’t have much trouble with the final step:
- 0: The number of times you hit the Snooze button in the morning. Ballentyne makes the argument that every time you hit snooze, you're telling your dreams and your goals—the things you say are important—that they're not really all that important, and that you would rather have 10 extra minutes of lying there instead of actually making progress on those goals. And it's compounded by the fact that the extra 10 minutes you get from snoozing your alarm clock isn't likely to be a deep, restful sleep.
So a really good habit here is: when the alarm clock goes off, get up and start your daily routine. I've actually gotten pretty good at this one!
Ballentyne makes some additional suggestions for improving your sleep:
- Remove extraneous light. You know all those chargers, thermostats, and other devices that glow during the night? That extra light can affect your quality of sleep. Move them to another room or cover them up to remove the light. Use a sleep mask, if needed.
- Use earplugs if you’re in a noisy environment. Do what you can to remove noise sources, but if you can't remove them all (like the guy in the next campsite who's playing loud music), consider using ear plugs to block it out. Blocking out that noise gives your body a much better chance of having a restful night's sleep.
- Use an “old school” alarm clock and don’t have your phone on your nightstand. That's right... maybe have one of those "ding-a-ling-a-ling" things instead of using your phone. That way, you can leave your phone in the next room, removing the temptation to scroll through Facebook one more time before you go to bed (exposing you to blue light), or wasting half your morning scrolling through social media or reading the news, or whatever. And old school alarm clock can help with the ability to just get up and get into your morning routine.
Now, of course, the real “kicker” is to make sure you get enough sleep. To do that, calculate what time you need to go to bed. Here’s an example, based on my routine:
- Time to be at work: 8:00
- Subtract commute time: Fortunately, for me right now, that’s 0
- Subtract morning routine: (this is when I’m getting most of my writing done): 30 minutes
- Subtract time to shower/dress/eat breakfast: 1 hour
- Subtract 15 minutes (to give a little buffer)
- Subtract 8 hours (amount of sleep needed.)
The result is your bedtime. For me, that’s 8:00 - 0 - 0:30 - 1:00 - 0:15 - 8:00 = 10:15.
So if it takes me 30 minutes to get shut down, then I need to start my shut down routine at 9:45.
That’s a great goal for me. Currently, I can’t begin to fathom starting to shut down at 9:45. Oftentimes, we’re still trying to get the kids settled down then!
So now I have 2 choices: (1) give up, or (2) start taking steps to achieve enough sleep. Knowing the benefits of sleep, I have to take the second option. But I know it’s not going to happen overnight (pardon the pun).
Instead, I need to treat it like any other goal: commit to it, break it down, and start taking action steps. I’m also sharing what time I get to bed each night with my accountability group because it’s really helpful to have someone to help hold you accountable.
Are you working on any goals right now? Maybe, like me, it’s a simple goal like getting more sleep. Or maybe it’s a much larger goal, like finally realizing your location lifestyle dream, being able to enjoy the freedom of travel, not being tied to a desk, and being able to get out there and do it without having to wait for retirement.
Whatever your goal, if you’d like some help setting, clarifying, and/or achieving your goals, I’d love to help. Keep an eye out for an upcoming offer. I’m updating my “Best Year Yet” course and will release it soon. 2021 is over halfway gone. But it’s not too late to turn it into your best year yet. So watch for details…