Why do we do things like neglect sleep?

We’ve all been there – in need of more sleep, woken up feeling tired – smash the alarm clock, and the rest of your day is ruined with more stress.

For me…grumpy, edgy, and unable to really stay focused, and really wanting to get back in my warm comfy bed. 

This is well known, bad sleep = most likely a bad day. A good night’s sleep does wonders for your body and mind, and when we had the chance to go to bed 1 hour earlier…but chose not to… Why?

For those of you mature and responsible enough to have set bed times, and don’t have this problem – well done!

This article won’t directly relate to you – but may prompt you to think about how you approach other tasks. Please read on….

The same principle can actually be applied to lots of different scenarios

  • That one drink – you know your alcohol limit, the hangover that is coming tomorrow morning, the feeling ill and waste of day regretting – but you’re most likely going to have that drink anyway!
  • You stay up watching a film or Youtube, chatting to friends, reading – you notice it’s bedtime – but it’s okay you carry on.
  • Food. Just 1 more….just another nibble….  

See the source image

Anyway back to the topic of sleep, and why we do things like neglect getting enough of it.  

I was thinking about it for a while, and it hit me that the answer is in fact, very simple.

Bed time… is not fun! (but only if the aim is going to sleep…completely different story if your significant other half is asking you to bed for reasons other than to sleep…)

What most things have in common – and why we enjoy doing what we do – is that it’s fun! Watching a comedy, chatting to friends – by asking yourself to go to sleep, you’re basically telling a kid to stop playing and finish their homework.

It doesn’t really give us a “high” – there’s so many things to do in our lives which are interesting and exciting, who wants to just lie there…

(Okay yes you might not be able to fall asleep – maybe due to a racing mind which you can’t stop – I’ve written an article about calming your mind here – but this article is about getting you to bed first…!)

Solution?

Make the task that needs to be done as easy and desirable as possible – in the case of going to sleep:  

Conditions –not too hot, not too warm. Get nice fluffy pillows, super comfortable sheets- where you are happy to put down your toys and go to bed on time. This will naturally also help you to get better quality sleep and improve your wellbeing.

Put your laptop/phone far away so you don’t get distracted and stay up for an extra 5 minutes watching that Youtube clip. 

Ideally you turn going to bed at the time that suits you as a habit, in which case you need a trigger to start the process of going to bed (maybe take a shower then immediately to bed, or have an alarm), and once you get in bed, there needs to be some kind of reward – repeat this for 30 days and it should become a habit.

I would give you a further example of how to incentivise yourself to make a mundane task such as washing dishes easier and more desirable to do- but am struggling here… special shiny washing up gloves..? I hope you get the point anyway!


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