How an Extra Hour of Sleep Can Change Your Life

sleep

For the past couple of years I’ve really struggled when it’s time to “spring forward.”

Hell bent on not “losing” that hour early in the morning, I drag myself out of bed feeling like a zombie and functioning like that for most of the day, in an attempt to tackle my typically monumental to-do list.

After a week, I begin to feel extra stressed in all areas. After two weeks, I’m overly emotional, ready to burst into tears at any moment. Foods that aren’t normally inviting (and aren’t good for me!) begin to sound satisfying. And even if I don’t eat them, the energy spent resisting them puts me further in debt. After a month, I’m less engaged in my workouts, less driven in my work, and feeling run down a majority of the time.

After a grueling two-ish months of this, I experience a miraculous awakening where I remember that I’ve been skirting my number one personal need for health, happiness, and sanity: getting enough sleep!

We all struggle to get enough sleep at various points throughout the year and throughout our adult lives.

I can’t stress enough the importance of healthy sleep habits when it comes to your health, managing your emotional intelligence, and mitigating your stress levels. For starters, sleep deprivation raises stress hormone levels on its own, even without a stressor present. When you sleep, your brain recharges so that you wake up alert and clear-headed. Your self-control, attention, and memory are all improved when you get enough — and the right kind — of sleep.

A good night’s sleep makes you more positive, creative, and proactive in your approach to life — even handling tough situations can be made easier when you are well rested.

Once I realized what I was doing (forcing myself to rise an hour earlier) and the impact it was having on me (think disaster area) it was an easy decision to give myself the rest I needed. Yes, I had to talk myself through the potential anxiety of not having an extra hour in the morning, but when I was honest with myself I found that rising earlier hadn’t made me more productive. In fact it had made me miserable, slow, cranky, and definitely not showing up the way I want in the world. The extra hour was truly wasted.

rat raceAfter a couple of days of sleeping just a little longer, I almost couldn’t believe how things completely shifted for me. I felt like myself again. How could I have forgotten the truth that sleep is so vital to my success?

Many of us are trying to get so much done in a single day that we’ve bought into the belief that we must sacrifice sleep for exercise, work, to-do lists, social activities, or family. Unfortunately this is about as logical as filling water in a bucket with a gaping hole in the bottom and expecting it to hold. I am guilty of this silliness.

When I remember to honor my most basic needs — the first of which is getting enough sleep — everything else falls into place. I have the clarity and energy to follow through on everything else that matters, like moving my body, eating the right foods at the right times, connecting fully with the people in my life, and helping others to do the same.

Sleeping just a little longer shifted everything in my life, in all the right ways. If any of this resonates with you, maybe you’re ready for a shift, too.

In Love & Gratitude,

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Missi Holt

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