Two weeks has past since the New Year. What have we accomplished in those two weeks? Have we stick closely to our resolutions? Have we started to change our habits? Have we started to create good new habits? I think that everyone is diligently doing their best. Speaking of habits, Doing your best means giving 100% faith, vows, attention, and action to it. If we have a slightest doubt in our resolutions, we cannot do our best every time. Since we are on the topic of habits, I think it would be good to talk about sleep habits.
First and foremost, sleep is essential to our health. While we sleep, repairs are going on in the body. For example. don't you feel that for every single time that you are sick, whether it is flu, fever, ulcer, or aches, the time that you recover is normally after you wake up from a night's sleep. A well-rested person becomes energetic the next day. Some people require less sleep, while others require more. That is okay. However, some people know that they require a certain amount of sleep, yet they don't sleep for that amount of hours. If this goes on for a long time, we form bad sleep habits.
How do we form bad sleep habits? A long time ago, people usually go to sleep right after dinner, as there were not much things to do at night. This is because of weather conditions, light conditions, and safety conditions. However, people now stay up very late at night for many reasons. We use social media more often now compared to 10 to 20 years ago when there was AOL, ICQ, Friendster, and other similar sites. Now, people go on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat. Sometimes, we bring these social media to our sleep! When we are supposed to be sleeping, we start scrolling through our phones, looking at other people's online lives. And sometimes, we can't help but think about things during the night. This forms very bad sleep habits, as our thoughts are supposed to be calm before we go to bed. With so much stimulation from social media, we cannot go to sleep peacefully. Even if we can sleep, the quality of sleep that we will have, will be poor. We will wake up without energy the next day. We may even be sleepy and tired in the middle of the next day. We kept on thinking throughout the night, and when we close our eyes, we still consciously and subconsciously think about our social media. How is it possible for us to get good rest if our minds keep expending its energy throughout the night?
Hence, we need to form good sleep habits! How do we form good sleep habits? Some of us tried various strategies, but failed. So what might work? We have to understand that it is very common for our monkey minds to keep running around when we feed it things it likes. These things are our social media. The more we feed it, the more it tells us to feed it more, and hence we can't stop using the phones at our bed at night. So what should we do then? We can start to set a time we want to sleep. For example, it could be 11.30pm. Let's just stick with 11.30pm for now. So ideally, we want to have a calm mind at 11.30pm that is ready for sleep. Then, we should aim 1 to 1.5 hours before 11.30pm for us to calm our minds. Since many of us are not expert meditators, we require a longer time to calm our minds down. For that 1.5 hours, we should put the phone aside, set it to silent mode if possible. We do not want any distractions from our phones. During that 1.5 hours, we should do something that does not stimulate the brain a lot, something like drawing, coloring a zen coloring book, read a book, listen to a podcast (this will be difficult as you will have access to your social media). Once the time hits 11.30pm, stop everything and go to bed. At the bed, take 3 deep breaths, and feel the tension from the body go away. Go to sleep, and do not mind the chatter in the mind. Just go to sleep.
This is one method to develop good sleep habit. It may be difficult at first, as so do other good habits. But if you successfully do it one time. you can do it the second, third, and so on. You will then be able to develop good sleep habits after a while. Every good habit comes from obstacles. The bigger the obstacle, the better the good habit that will be formed. Hence we should all aim to form good sleep habits that will benefit our health and minds in the long run.