I was always one of those people who had tonnes of energy and did heaps of different things; boredom was my absolute enemy. I got this trait from my father, who even today loves doing things, socializing and getting involved.
I just love being around people and learning from conversations--it simultaneously fills me up and makes me satisfyingly tired. No wonder I ended up moving to London, this buzzing city full of life, people to meet and things to do.
But being such a hyper person and 'social activity junkie' can start to become problematic when you're not nourishing your body with the right kinds of good things. My earlier years, which were spent staying up late, living a lifestyle of total flexibility and freedom in what I wanted to do, going out all the time, picking up not-so-nutritious food and living on caffeine, eventually took their toll on my body.
I felt tired every morning, even before I got out of bed, and pushing through my boundaries was something I became all too familiar with. I didn't acknowledge--or even know--what I needed; I just knew that the balance between sleeping enough quality hours and enjoying my life to the full was no longer in harmony.
By the time I was 25, I'd burnt myself out physically, mentally and even spiritually: I developed psoriasis, which covered twenty per cent of my body, and I gained weight. But the alarm bells really started to ring loud and clear when I began regularly waking up in the middle of the night with a nosebleed.
This was a very scary experience and a total wakeup call! I had ignored the alarm bells for too long. My habitual 'night owl' lifestyle wasn't going to cut it anymore.
As human beings, we often forget that 'our body is the only place we have to live', as quoted from Jim Rohn. External events take over, and we fail to nourish our bodies, our minds and even our souls. The result is that we become physically drained, waking up each morning feeling sluggish rather than alive, awake and energized at the prospect of a new day. Our days are filled with chasing after the 'next best thing', and we completely ignore the signs of our body, which is screaming out for nourishment and rest. Sleep becomes 'should get some' rather than an absolute priority.
I know these things very well. This is exactly how I used to live my life.
I meet people on a daily basis who tell me that they long to be able to sleep better at night and wake up refreshed and replenished in the morning, full of energy and ready to take on all the things they need, have and want to do during the day. They are all craving this balanced life which seems like a distant ideal.
This is why I want to share with you the three things I learnt as a result of those night-time nosebleeds:
- Life is not just about managing or getting by! Life is about being fully awake, engaged--and loving it!
There is a huge difference between waking up in the morning and practically dragging yourself out of bed feeling drowsy and miserable, to reach for that first cup of coffee to wake you up--and opening your eyes with a smile on your face because you are recharged, reenergised and looking forward to everything the day will bring--including the challenges--because you know you have the energy to handle it all.
- Taking charge versus being in control
Going to bed fearful and fretful about what might fall apart because you are not in control while you're asleep is not a great feeling. But when you remedy that by taking charge of the time you are awake as well as when you are asleep and resting, life starts to take on a completely different dimension. It becomes about doing the best you can rather than doing it perfectly. This shift alone has helped so many people to become calmer and more accepting about what is happening to them on a daily basis. Let's be honest with each other here--life is about the good days just as much as the not so good.
- Lack of quality sleep leads to a less fulfilling life
I have the 'sleep deep and grow rich' approach to life. It basically looks at the few minutes just before you go to sleep: The moments when the absolute truth of your current reality reveals itself to you. The moments when you reflect on how great your life is, what really matters to you, and how you can achieve those dreams of becoming a richer person--and I don't just mean financially. I am talking about fulfilling relationships, an increased sense of independence, as well as financial stability--that sought-after ideal of 'having it all', minus the burnt-out body, mind and soul that stop you from enjoying it.
Think about it for a minute...
What if you just had these three things 'cracked'?
Wouldn't you feel more alive than ever before? Wouldn't you be a lot more motivated to get going every morning, eager to embrace the day with a sense of positivity and to attain a new dimension of fulfilment, if you were able to experience nourishing, recharging and peaceful sleep every night?
Trust me... you would!
The reason I know this is I have seen first-hand the massive improvements in both my own life and the lives of others I teach and support, once these issues are addressed.
So the next time you decide to skip a few hours of restful sleep... ask yourself the question: 'Is this helping me to reach a new dimension of fulfilment in my life?'
Until next time... all the best to you.
Author of The Sleep Deep Method--Seven ways sleep affects your wealth, relationships and independence: Tips for improving your sleep