Over the last year, I have made some big changes to my life that have come to serve me well through times of stress. Hands down, the habit switch that has done the most for me has been getting more quality rest. And I don’t just mean getting more sleep. I mean recharging my soul through a restorative sleep routine.
When I decided to make better sleep a goal, I started getting into bed at 9:00 PM every night to read for 30-40 minutes. This replaced my former routine of watching an hour of TV and drinking a couple of glasses of red wine to unwind. In addition to the extra half hour or so of sleep I started getting, the quality of my sleep improved dramatically, and I felt the change right away. I started feeling a huge boost in my mood and my energy throughout the day, as well as my productivity. The first 2.5 hours of my day tend to be my most productive because my house is the quietest then. Since I gained an extra hour each morning from being able to wake up earlier, my entire day feels much more productive overall.
Because I am a geek when it comes to wearable tracking devices, the physical effects of better rest on my body were actually quantifiable. I wear a Whoop Strap and a Fitbit, and very shortly after I changed my sleeping habits, I was able to see massive changes in the amount of REM sleep I was getting, my heart rate variability, and my resting heart rate when I woke up in the morning. My REM time was now more than 2 hours, an increase of over 25%, my heart rate variability had gone from the 45-65 range to the 60-90 range, and my resting heart rate was 49-ish instead of the mid-50s.
There are a few things I’ve added to my routine that help me get into the groove of looking forward to sleep. First, a hot bath or shower is a great way to relax before getting into bed. Then, I make sure to have books that interest me. I love to read things that inspire me, so I’ll often do an internet search for “inspiring books” to discover new self-help books and autobiographies. I have also been loving my CBD gummies. I take 2 before I get into bed, and they take the edge off and have me ready to sleep in about 30 minutes. Finally, don’t tell anyone, but sometimes I like to read a little bit to my wife! It’s a great way for us to feel closer.
In the past year, I have noticed positive changes with regard to how distractible I am, my decision making ability, my memory, and especially my patience. I really feel a difference in how I interact with my family. Overall, I am a more compassionate, centered person when I get better rest.
Since I implemented this habit switch, I’ve come to feel that quality rest can help me tackle anything. I really encourage you to try it for yourself.