You will always have a reason to cheat your sleep.
You will never have a reason to catch up, unless you decide it’s time.
So decide it’s time.
If you have young kids, trade nights for being on call with your spouse until you are both as caught up as you can be.
If you’re a single parent, ask someone to take the kids for a night or two and then sleep.
If you don’t have young kids, you really don’t have a good excuse. Just get disciplined.
3. Develop better sleep routines.
Here are few things that can help you sleep better.
1. Go to bed at the same time every night. Researchers say you will sleep better if you do.
2. Go to bed earlier. This was huge for me. Instead of staying up late to get stuff done, get up earlier to get things done. Sleep in on the front side. I try to be asleep every night by 10:30. Sometimes it’s as early as 9:30. And I’m up between 4:30 and 5:30 every morning. That’s my sweet spot.
3. Sleep in a dark room and turn off electronics. I love my phone, but it’s off (as in powered down) every night. If it’s an emergency, someone will knock at my door and wake me up. If the world ends, well, there’s not much I can do about it anyway when I’m asleep.
4. Get as good a mattress as you can afford. Get as picky about a good mattress as you can with your budget. You’ll spend 1/3 of your life on it. So invest well.
5. Don’t eat much before bed. It helps you sleep better … it really does.
4. Watch for the signs.
Since I burned out, I have paid super close attention to the signals my body tells me about my fatigue level. As soon as I sense I’m running a sleep deficit, I try to pay it off.
Here are some signs that tell me I’m tired:
1. A bad or sullen mood. Someone once said that 70 percent of discipleship is a good night’s sleep. Well, yes it is. I am more of a Christian when I’m well rested. So I watch my mood like a hawk. Being short with people, angry, sad or lacking mercy are all signs I’m tired.
2. I watch my passion level. When I’m rested, I’m excited about work, about life and about seeing people. If everything seems like a chore or an obligation, I’m out of balance. For sure, some things will always seem like a chore, but everything shouldn’t.
3. I watch my creativity. If I have trouble coming up with great ideas or great content, it’s a sign my mind is tired. I probably need more sleep.
4. I find myself nodding off. When I’m tired in meetings, driving or watching TV, it’s a sign I need more sleep. I know that’s obvious, but it’s so easy for this to become ‘normal’ I just thought I’d mention it.
5. React quickly.
I still run hard. We all have busy seasons and busy weeks, and I get tired regularly. Part of my personality is I love to push myself and push limits. I get that.
But now I react quickly when I’m getting tired.
Why don’t you try that this week?
Take a nap.
Cancel your plans for tonight and go to bed early.
You’ll be fresher more often, and you’ll have far more energy for your family, for life and for work.
That’s what I’ve been learning about sleep as a leader and as a follower of Christ.
It should be no surprise that God wants us to spend 1/7 of our life resting (Sabbath) and created us to sleep 1/3 of our life away.
Your calling, your family and your life are too important for you not to sleep.
Now you can use your new secret weapon.
What are you learning about sleep?