Are you a creative entrepreneur? Someone who is self-employed and who is working in a creative field? Perhaps voice-overs, photography, painting, writing, marketing, designing, coaching, or technology?
If you are, you’ve probably researched ways to improve your skills, to have the cutting edge, to stimulate your creativity and stand out above the crowd. You’ve thought of so many ways you can excel at your craft, attract your audience of potential clients, and make yourself a veritable fountain of new ideas.
But have you put as much emphasis on nurturing and maintaining the SOURCE of all these creative ideas and hard work? In other words – you? The living human organism that comprises – you. The living organism that is the source of all your ideas, your energy, your health, your business, and ultimately all that you will achieve.
Many of us are so accustomed to running on adrenalin that we barely notice that our productivity has diminished, our creativity is less accessible, and our relationships are suffering. We think that if we just try harder, work more, and try to put more energy into our businesses that we will somehow gain ground.
But what we may be ignoring – and what is one of THE most important components of our health, vitality, energy and creativity – is how much sleep we’re getting.
Yes, one of the most strengthening, rejuvenating and inspiring wellsprings of your creative mind is a good night’s sleep.
My recommendations are based upon my personal experience of relieving my own insomnia. They are not intended to replace medical advice. If you suffer from insomnia or have problems sleeping, always consult your doctor.
Some problems you may experience from insomnia or sleep deprivation are:
Impaired performance and problem-solving abilities
Increased impatience and anger
Reduced reaction time
Weakened immune system
Some of the benefits of having healthy circadian rhythms and sleeping deeply and regularly are:
Increased energy and health
Strengthened immune system
Improved ability to cope with stress
Improved memory and cognitive function
Quicker access to creative imagination
Enhanced ability to learn
Improved reaction time
More easily maintain a healthy weight
In other words: Improving the quality of your sleep will literally improve the quality of your life.
Whether you have a hard time falling asleep, whether you wake up in the wee hours of the morning, or whether you just want to sleep more peacefully, I think you’ll find the suggestions below helpful.
Here are some ideas to help you start getting a better night’s sleep. Don’t feel that you have to make all these changes at once. Even just starting with a few of these recommendations will begin to help. These have all worked for me over the years, and I believe they will also work for you.
1. “Power down” for an hour before bed. Turn off the computer and television and stop using technology for an extended period before you go to bed.
2. Avoid caffeine, colas, alcohol, chocolate, foods that contain MSG, and spicy foods several hours before you go to bed.
3. Do some gentle stretching as you’re getting ready for bed.
4. Set a bedtime schedule: Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning.
5. If you wake up after just a few hours sleep and simply can’t get back to sleep, get up for a little while, relax in a comfortable chair, and read something that relaxes you until you become drowsy again. Try to avoid lying in bed, frustrated that you’re not asleep. Allow yourself to get up for a while until you can fall asleep again, but get up in the morning as you’d planned. The more you stick to your bedtime schedule, the easier it will become.
6. Do a self-massage before bed: use a foot roller on the soles of your feet, rub your shoulders with a vibrating massager, or simply rub lotion into your forearms and hands for a few minutes. Choosing a lotion with calming and nourishing properties will help also: I recommend lotions scented with either lavender, ylang ylang, marjoram, or mandarin.
7. Read a soothing, relaxing, uplifting, or spiritual passage from a book before bed.
8. Play gentle, instrumental music (no lyrics) or use “white noise” (a fan or white noise machine) at low volume in the bedroom.
9. Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and free of bright nightlights or digital clocks.
10. Create a bedtime ritual that you follow in the same way every night. For example: brush your teeth. Rub lavender lotion into your shoulders and chest. Read the Twenty-third Psalm out loud. Take ten or twenty deep, slow breaths as you settle down onto the pillow. Create your own bedtime ritual and follow it each night.
11. Drink a cup of chamomile tea with honey, half an hour before you go to bed.
12. As you get into bed and feel the warmth and softness of the sheets, the comfort of your pillow, and the warm support of your mattress, consciously decide to let the stresses and the strains of the day fade away. Choose to just focus on the warmth, coziness, and relaxation that you’re experiencing right now, in your comfortable bed.
13. Avoid smoking cigarettes before bed as they can act as a stimulant.
14. Practice several minutes of “progressive relaxation” when you lie down in bed. Breathe deeply, and gently tense and then relax all the large muscles in your body. Your thighs, your shoulders, your arms, your buttocks. Slowly flex and tense them for a moment, then breathe deeply as you let them relax.
15. Handle your stress and unresolved issues during the day, and you’ll sleep better at night.
If you suffer from insomnia or lack of sleep, I understand. I’ve been there. I know it can block your creativity and make your entrepreneurial efforts so much harder.
Try some of the strategies I suggest above and you’ll find that you’ll be able to fall asleep more easily, stay asleep longer, and awake feeling more rested and rejuvenated.
If you have concerns about your insomnia or have other sleep-related problems, always consult a health-care professional.
Wishing you a peaceful night’s sleep and sweet dreams ~
2012 Maxine Dunn
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