When I was working on my plan for this year and looking at all the things I wanted to improve in my life I wrote down for the first time ever, get adequate rest. The topic of sleep or lack thereof has come up so frequently in my groups that it has opened my eyes to how many of us struggle with sleep issues. I did not know how common it was to either not be able to fall asleep or to wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to go back to sleep.

I have witnessed week over week commitments around sleep and the benefits of being intentional about getting enough rest. I started to look more closely at my own sleep habits. I became conscious that I was taking for granted my ability to sleep and depriving my body of what it really needs to be at it’s best. I know that sleep is a major part of responsibly managing our energy and I definitely wasn’t managing mine very well.

My habit of staying up too late and getting up early with a couple of young children waking up at odd hours to boot were all taking a toll. Lara Lazaro, my new trainer, and I were having an accountability call where I mentioned my desire to work on getting more sleep. She asked if I ever tried setting an alarm on my phone. I thought it was sort of a funny thing to do but I did it anyway. It’s been about a month now since I started doing this and I have to say it has kept me more conscious than I have ever been about going to sleep. I can not believe what a difference it has made in all aspects of my life to get enough rest. I can’t believe I was sacrificing all the benefits of rest for a few more minutes on the computer or to watch television.

Now when my alarm goes off, I know I’ve got 10 minutes to stop whatever I’m doing and put myself to bed. Since it’s an actual alarm (the sound of bongo drums on my iPhone) it also lets my husband know that it’s time for me to go to sleep which for some reason makes it easier to do. Plus it’s made my morning alarm less of a shock to my system there’s even been a few times that I’ve already been up. I’m finding I’m more productive in the evening because I know exactly how much time I have before the day is over and as an added bonus I’ve made it to a lot more 6am workouts than I would have otherwise.

For those of us that don’t suffer with sleep issues, getting more sleep is the simplest thing we can do to boost our energy. It’s so much easier than eating right, getting enough exercise, or managing our stress but the impact on all areas of our life is huge. I watch my kids and what a wreck they are if they don’t get enough sleep and I think, why have I been doing this to myself for years? As I learned from reading the Slight Edge, the things that make the most difference in our lives, are easy to do and easy not to do.

photo by: RelaxingMusic , Flickr Creative Commons 2.0