Getting additional sleep seems to be a theme in my work here lately. I’ve had at least three coaching calls in the last month where the client-created action ended up relating somehow to better sleep.
I’m all about good sleep - I have enjoyed snoozing for as long as I can remember. I was the first kid I knew who gave up Saturday morning cartoons in favor of staying in bed. I turn into a pumpkin by about 9:30 every evening, and I have to put people on notice that anything I might say or do after that time is not to be taken too seriously.
By the same token, I have had bouts of chronic insomnia for the past ten years, so I have a decent amount of amateur knowledge on the subject. If you've ever experienced insomnia, you know it can be absolutely crippling. In a word, it sucks. I’ve seen sleep specialists, been through a sleep study, etc., etc. Thankfully most of the time it’s mild enough now to just be irritating as opposed to debilitating. But for a while there...
So there’s a clear difference between not being able to get enough sleep, and consciously choosing to not get enough sleep. Given my experiences, the latter scenario baffles me.
We know that lack of sleep impairs brain function, and experts tell us that drivers with sleep deprivation may be as dysfunctional as someone driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It affects the ability to make clear, rational decisions, and…hey, wait a minute...what do we know about organization and decision-making? Hmmmm.
When you have clutter and disorganization, it’s most often the result of poor or delayed decisions. So when you make a choice to burn the midnight oil due to some misguided attempt to be productive, you’re probably contributing to that disorganization - not getting ahead on it. I’ve noticed more than once that when I work with someone who’s yawning their way through a session, the progress is sluggish and hit-or-miss. Thinking through whether or not you want to keep those early 2000s-era business suits, or how to store the collection of hotel keys you’ve been curating for the cool art project, becomes a much tougher proposition when the brain is not running at full speed.
And what if you’re not choosing to stay up late, but instead experiencing sleeplessness without an apparent cause? It’s more than worth it to examine and take steps to address the issue. The National Sleep Foundation has these tips for improving the quality of your sleep. Some other ideas my doctor gave me include:
Of course, if you’re really struggling, a trip to see your physician may be in your best interest. If you’re stalled on an organizing project or something else that requires your best regarding time management or productivity, take a look at what’s happening with your ZZZs. A tired mind does not play well with others, particularly when you’re trying to create new habits.
*My favorite insomnia book is my Third Edition of A History of Western Music by Donald Jay Grout. Nothing like a few paragraphs on Renaissance polyphonic motets to get me back to snoozing.
Sara Skillen - Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Organizer Coach®, wife, mom, and serial list-maker. Learning to trust my intuition more every day. Shall we work together?