Getting your ZZZ’s

By: Milica Marković
Posted on: February 1, 2017

Yes! January has ended! So now that February has begun, hopefully we will be seeing some more sun. I don’t know about you, but the lack of sunlight this past month just made me feel exhausted.

Because of this exhaustion I have now asserted myself to be a professional napper.

I gotta be honest – half of these naptimes are spent either thinking about every single scenario in existence or trying to find a comfortable position either because A) I keep waking up after dozing off, especially after a bizarre dream or B) I worry about how unproductive I’m being – something that may or may not be keeping me awake at night as well.

Surely, I thought to myself, I can’t be the only one feeling this way, and there has to be some sort of explanation for it. So I fired up my ol’ computer box to find out what others have to say on the matter. What I found, in a way, goes back to my concerns about productivity.

But here’s the thing – despite what we may think, it’s not a lack of willpower that’s keeping us in bed in the morning. Rather, our brains are actually drained by the thought of all the work awaiting us during the day. Sleeping in suddenly seems like the better option – but like Advil, the pain can only be eased temporarily, and we waste our mornings doing battle with the snooze button.

Using our waking hours wisely is crucial to success, because we are at our most active in the morning, especially during our first 2-5 hours of waking. As obvious as this sounds, I’m going to stress this to the bone anyway – we absolutely need 7-9 hours of sleep the night before. So no making up for it, and no staying up late to finish that task we could’ve done in the morning we spent questioning our relationship with our bed (unless you do night shifts, then feel free to disregard everything I’m saying).

If you’re having trouble falling asleep at night, you could try Harvard-educated Dr. Andrew Weil’s “4-7-8” breathing technique, which involves regulating your breathing rate by breathing in through your nose for four seconds, holding in your breath for seven seconds, and exhaling through your mouth for eight seconds. This allows oxygen to fill your lungs properly, and it slows down your heart rate, causing your brain and muscles to relax into a deep sleep.

Successfully falling asleep is all well and good, but what about the mornings we all dread? Well, there must be something that we can look forward to each day, something that’ll encourage us to dash out of bed in excitement. This is where morning rituals come in! Why squander the glory of daybreak with miserable thoughts of the duties to come, when you can ease yourself into the nitty gritty with enjoyable activities that’ll supply you with the energy to even bother?

You might consider making redecoration a part of your morning ritual, if you feel that your space is killing your mood. Nobody wants to wake up to and embrace a space that looks like a prison cell.

You also want to make sure that you can fully dedicate your mornings to your ritual, and that includes eliminating little annoyances that can easily be dealt with the night before, such as picking out an outfit or setting up your coffee machine so that all you have to do is press “Start” in the morning.

If you live with other people, try to get up before everyone else, so that no one gets in the way of your meditation and productivity. You’ll be amazed with how much you’ll get done and how little you’ll be worried about what you have to do, because you’re focused more on what you’ve set out to do and less on the madness that usually ensues in the morning.

How you treat mornings is all based on the choices you make and the mentality you choose to adopt when it comes to your sleeping habits. There are ways to avoid violent encounters with the snooze button while maintaining a healthy relationship with your bed – you just have to be open to them.

Milica Marković & Jennifer Armel

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