Sleep ensures productivity. No wonder we spend at least a third of our lives sleeping. However, worrying about sleep is one of the major things hindering sleep and productivity in the first place. It won’t matter how many sleep hack articles you read – if you worry about sleep, that worry could keep you up at night, ruin the next day’s productivity, or both, since the two go hand in hand. We take a look here at how you can stop worrying about sleep.
Accept that One Day of Inadequate Sleep Won’t Kill Productivity
With multiple discoveries on the perils of sleep deprivation, many people have become obsessed with getting “perfect sleep” every day to avoid unproductivity. But since nothing is perfect, this tendency triggers anxiety, causing them to not sleep in the first place, which worries them further about having a crappy following day. This causes a vicious cycle of not sleeping because of worrying and worrying about not sleeping over many nights, which most people report as insomnia symptoms.
In an article in The Guardian, Charles Morin, a psychologist who’s been studying insomnia treatment for more than a decade, confirms that one of the best long-term strategies to help alleviate insomnia is to let go of the fear of lack of sleep.
I used to hold onto the notion that if I don’t get enough sleep, the next day would be ruined. This caused many sleepless nights, random cycles, and unproductive days. If I failed to get those seven or eight hours, I’d tell myself, “I’ll feel tired and lazy tomorrow because I’m only getting five hours of sleep.” Those worries usually came true. I’d often wake up feeling groggy, sick, and lazy enough to make it a basis for postponing tasks.
But I was wrong. This may sound like something you do, too. But it’s time to stop worrying about sleep.
Anxiety Canada, a resource center for anxiety-related issues, outlined some helpful self-help tactics to help you adjust your thinking and get quality sleep. We include them in the following advice for different sleep situations.
When going about your day or before bed, think:
- I’ll do my best to ensure quality sleep at night, but I can’t control how my body responds.
- Even if I didn’t sleep well last night, I can be productive and get a good night’s sleep tonight.
- Going to sleep is letting myself relax, not thinking myself to sleep.
When waiting to fall sleep, think:
- Focusing on my insomnia would only make it tougher to sleep. I can let go.
- What relaxes my mind? I’ll think of that.
- Even if I didn’t sleep well last night, I can sleep great tonight.
- I accept that I may not get the best sleep tonight, and that’s okay.
- As long as I keep a positive mindset, my body will eventually readjust itself to quality sleep.
When you can’t sleep, think:
- It’s normal to occasionally have a bad night’s sleep.
- Instead of trying hard to sleep, I can relax and let my body do the rest.
- Worrying about sleep worsens the inability to sleep.
- I can only take charge of my sleeping habits but can’t control my body’s ability to sleep.
- I may not feel like myself in the morning, but I’ll manage to be productive nonetheless.
- Quality sleep is better than quantity, so it doesn’t matter if I sleep fewer hours sometimes.
- If I can’t sleep right now, I’ll do a relaxing activity.
- I don’t have to sleep in to make up for the sleepless hours; I’ll keep my sleep timeline consistent and let my body readjust.
If circumstances and my own mistakes lead me to get less sleep than usual, I don’t worry about it but soldier on, believing the next day will be as productive if not more so than any other day. And it usually is. That’s also because I learned how to deal with little sleep and stay productive.
Focus on Fundamental Practices for Good Sleep
Most things you may be focusing on have little effect on the quality of your sleep. They’re not completely pointless, but focusing on them may be worrying you about sleep more than helping you sleep well. Remember what Tony Robbins says: “Where your focus goes, your energy flows.” You don’t want to focus on things irrelevant to long-term quality sleep.
For instance, sleep trackers are good for knowing a ton about your sleep habits, but they aren’t entirely accurate. In fact, scientists believe they cause orthosomnia, a condition where you get insomnia due to anxiety over sleep metrics. Maybe it’s time to ditch your sleep tracker to get peace of mind. Keeping a notepad by your bed is okay as well, but planning your day early to avoid sleep distractions is much better.
The best thing about the fundamentals of sleeping well is that they work to keep your sleep cycles consistent in the long term. So, learn how proper sleep can affect productivity and stick to those basics so that you don’t have to worry about sleep or your productivity.
Let Go and Sleep in Peace
Even if you love to stay educated about sleep, filter the things to focus on so you can sleep in peace. Our bodies are created to rest for rejuvenation, but worrying about sleep hinders that process and affects the following day. Instead of overthinking sleep when under the covers, let your mind drift away into slumber and be much more productive the next day.
Do you find yourself worrying about sleep often? Do you find that it affects your productivity? Let us know in the comments section below! To learn more about getting adequate sleep, check out whether you should take naps during the day.