By Elizabeth K. Dawson, MES

Are you getting enough sleep?  Chances are – like so many people – you’re not.  And you probably feeling short-tempered, hungry, thirsty, foggy, irritable, sluggish, anxious, sore, and stressed (to name a few lovely symptoms of sleep deprivation).

A few weeks ago, I realized that despite efforts to slow down and re-design my days towards sanity – I was just not getting enough sleep.   I was staying up late and still waking up tired.   I was filling my days and evenings with work, activities, friends, and general busy-ness.  And I was really starting to feel it…   Not surprising – research about the ill-effects of not sleeping enough is widespread and well-known.

Since we all KNOW we should sleep more, the question is: How?  How can we possibly sleep when there’s so much going on?

How to Sleep?  Experiment with going to bed early just one single time.

With the onset of fall, you may be feeling (or fighting) a natural slowing down, and it’s a great time to take advantage of that inclination.

Don’t worry – you don’t have to suddenly become an early-to-bed-bird and take on this new habit for all eternity.  The key to having one good sleep is… do it once!  Plan for it.  And enjoy it.

Making this happen depends on you designing your day to accommodate slowing down earlier than usual and avoiding typical distractions.  Just for one night, peel yourself away….

1) Ask yourself – what are you doing most often after 10pm? This will help you plan ahead to understand and set aside the things that usually keep you up late – even TV programs.

2) Choose the night. Pick one night in the near future when it could work for you to head to bed luxuriously early.  I also like to choose a night when I don’t have to rush out of the house in the morning, making for fully restful experience.

3) Plan it, and tell anyone who needs to know. Talk to your spouse, kids, friends, etc. about your plan, and let them know that that particular evening is set aside (and – just don’t answer the phone.  It’s your night!). 

4) Take care of business. In advance, address any business that you feel might get in your way, and set the rest aside until the next day.

5) Have dinner, put on your PJs, and sneak away… Finally, ‘early to bed’ night has arrived!  Grab a book, have a bath, or maybe some herbal tea – whatever suits your fancy.  Say goodnight to your family or roommates (and your phone!) and enjoy the luxury of a good night’s sleep!

When you wake up feeling rested, you’ll be tempted to do it again soon…