Many people dread Monday mornings. I embrace Monday morning; it is Sunday night that I dread.
I am not alone.
According to a March 2017 article from Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, one-third of adults get less than seven hours of sleep each night. And some “short sleepers” rest as little at 3-6 hours per night. I would argue that it has a lot to do with busy minds thinking of what is in store the next day: meetings, deadlines, dealing with a difficult colleague, and more.
Sunday nights tick away slowly as I watch the clock move from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. and straight through to my alarm. When the sandman neglects to visit, I begin my work week running on caffeine and will. But that is neither healthy nor sustainable long-term, and there are better ways to battle sleeplessness.
Initiate positive bedtime hygiene: This means allowing time for your brain and your body to decompress before you plan to retire for the evening. Best practices include unplugging from devices at least 30 minutes before bed, no nighttime exercising, refraining from caffeine after lunch, and creating a safe, comfortable, and welcoming resting space.
Explore Yoga Nidra and meditation: Yoga Nidra, also known as yogic sleep, and other meditative practices aim to direct your mind and body into a calm, aware, and less stressed state. This state invites REM sleep. There are many resources that can help: “Mantras Made Easy” by Sherianna Boyle, and “Yoga Nidra Meditation: Extreme Relaxation of Conscious Deep Sleep” (audiobook) by Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati are two of my go-to favorites. Remember, practice makes possible. The more you practice, the more calm you’ll experience.
Make your to-do and to-don’t list: A common known and accepted practice is creating a to-do list prior to bed. This allows you to reorder your brain and focus on relaxation rather than problem-solving. A lesser known ideology is creating a to-don’t list. According to Wharton professor and author Adam Grant, it is easier to break bad habits, and ultimately reduce stress, by weaning off these habits using visual cues–such as a to-don’t list–rather than stopping cold turkey. Grant encourages “to-don’t lists” in a workplace setting; I’m applying it to my Sunday nights. Explore this more in his new book, “Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World.” Remember: leave your to-do and to-don’t lists outside of your bedroom. You have defined your coming weeks’ problems and you do not need to, literally, sleep with them.
In order to be my best self for the work week, a restful Sunday night is key. These practices help me.