Sometimes You Have to do Less to Get More

Self-Care & Mental Health

I recently came across an article written by Glamour's Editor-in-Chief, Cindi Levine, on the Huffington Post about a sleep challenge. Basically, there are hundreds in agreement that they just don't get enough. We all have our personal "enough's": - six hours may be enough for you, while for me? I'm miserable, tired and just plain grumpy with anything less than eight, although I very rarely succeed in logging in more than seven.


My head hardly ever touches down on my pillow until well after 11. Although I'm not exactly a night person, I resist settling down. I always have unfinished business of one sort or another - and just don't want the day to come to an end. No, it's not the television that keeps me wanting to stay up, but instead, all the things I fail to get through during the (always-too-short) day: emails, saved articles to read, an idea to write up, another chapter in my novel to finish, straightening up my office desk so I can work the next day, folding laundry….well, you get the idea. Seems there's always - no matter what - unfinished business.

And then of course, there are those self-defeating things we unknowingly do that might interfere with a good night's sleep – which is the point of this blog post. What Levine says is that we just have to learn to say "no." (Of course, this applies in all aspects of our overloaded lives, but let's just apply that "no" to the subject of sleep right now. I'd love to re-visit the "no's" we should put into our lives in a different post.)

So, I started thinking, wouldn't it be nice and refreshing to do this: instead of sitting down each night to write out a "to do" list for the next day (My problem #1: making this endless list right before bed stresses me out too much to sleep) we might want to try writing a "to don't" list to prepare for sleep. Levine says this involves giving things up, getting rid of certain obligations or even fun stuff.

Of course, there are those non-negotiables. I won't give up flossing my teeth nor will I give up spending time unwinding with my husband after dinner. But there are other things I will gladly put on my "to don't" list: phone calls after 9PM or even earlier; keeping the computer on past 9PM (big mistake – did you know that blue light that's emitted from computers can disturb sleep cycles and confuse your brain into wakefulness?) and having/picking a serious discussion/fight with my husband right before bed. (I made that mistake last week. Wanna guess? I was way grumpy the next day from not enough sleep.)

So, readers, what do you think? How about making your own "to-don't" list to eek out a few precious extra minutes or hours of sleep. What's on yours?

Here's more on sleep:
Why You Might Want to Go to Bed Early Tonight

All About Sleep
Improving Sleep Without Medication

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