Do you find yourself counting down the minutes until bedtime? If so, then you’re not alone. Sleep is one of the most common sources of anxiety for people in today’s world.
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) estimates that about 40 million Americans suffer from sleep problems each year, costing them an average of $2,280 per person in medical expenses and lost productivity.
Just like you, I also go through phases of dreading the idea of going to sleep. Sleep is supposed to be the time when our bodies get to rest, recover, and rejuvenate. But I often find myself hating having to end my night and get closer to starting tomorrow.
I’ve put this article together to help us both out. It covers why we hate sleep, why sleep is super important, and how to start loving it again.
Ready? Then let’s get started.
Disclaimer: This article isn’t medical advice – I’m not a doctor and I don’t want to pretend I am one! These are my experiences as someone who researches sleep a lot. If you think you may suffer from Somniphobia (a literal fear of sleep) you should reach out to a medical professional.
3 Reasons Why You Hate Sleep
Lack of Control Over Your Time
The days where I really hate sleep tend to be when I’ve not have enough time to relax. It’s like accepting that your free time is coming to an end, and you’ve got to go through everything that you dread tomorrow. Whether that’s work or school, or even just taking care of your family or household.
You’re Having Too Much Fun
Anyone that knows me will tell you I love video games. While that’s true for many guys my age – addictive TV shows, fun times with friends, or even just sitting on Instagram might be what’s making you hate the thought of sleeping.
Anxiety About Tomorrow
If you’re nervous about tomorrow, this may be another reason why you can’t sleep. Whether that’s a big day at work, a presentation at school, or simply another freakin’ Monday.
I’m sure there’s plenty of other reasons why you might hate sleep, but for me these three reasons are the most common.
The best way to stop hating sleep is to change your perspective on it. By understanding how sleep affects us a little better, we’ll understand why hating it is such a huge problem.
5 Reasons Why Sleep Is Important
Sleep is incredibly important for a whole bunch of reasons – many of which I’ve covered in detail on this blog. A few of the biggest reasons are:
- Sleep keeps you healthy – Sleep deprivation has been linked to a whole range of health problems, from cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders like diabetes to increased mortality rates (study).
- Sleep helps your creativity – Sleep is cool. Studies show that sleep can make you more creative (study) and help with problem solving (study).
- Sleep helps with memory consolidation (study), and getting enough sleep each night will make it easier for you to remember the things that you’ve learned. Sleep deprivation, on the other hand, can get in the way of this process (study)
- Sleep helps you perform better athletically – both in terms of your stamina, and your strength and speed.
- Lastly, but most importantly, sleep controls your willpower. When you’re well rested, you have much more willpower to stick to your healthy habits and focus better at whatever you’re aiming to do.
While each of these reasons are super important, it’s the willpower one that’s the real game changer here.
Sleep not only makes you healthier, smarter, stronger, faster, it also makes you more disciplined. It gets you closer to being the ‘real you’ and not the ‘monkey mind’ version of you that screws up your habits, eats junk food, and stays up way too late.
Now that we can see how important sleep is, it’s time to cover how to fall in love with sleeping again.
3 Strategies to Love Sleeping Again
Okay, let’s get down to fixing our lives a little. We know how important sleep is, but we also have an understanding of why we hate it. Let’s come up with some solutions.
Strategy 1: Regain Control Over Your Days
If you hate sleeping because you don’t have enough free time, then you need to carve out more of it.
That is MUCH easier said than done (believe me, I know) – but it’s worth at least looking at. If you take a given weeknight, what would you need to do to feel you’ve ‘relaxed’ enough?
Is it watching a movie? Quality time with your partner? Spending a set amount of time gaming? Reading a book?
Whatever the case, make this your priority. Schedule it in.
Do whatever you can to block out time to do what YOU need to unwind at the end of the day. When we let our lives revolve around other people or responsibilities, we lose ourselves. When we lose ourselves, we can’t be at our best to be there for those people, or fulfill our responsibilities.
Figure out what you need to unwind at the end of each day, and plan for it. Protect it – and don’t feel guilty about it.
Strategy 2: Live With Purpose
This is sounding cliché, but bear with me.
Think of someone who has no purpose in their life. They go through their week hour by hour, day by day, with no real goal in sight. Maybe you felt like this recently – just coasting along until you get a chance to kick back and chill out.
When your day is like that, no wonder it’s hard to go to sleep! What do you have to look forward to? What’s the point of coasting through another day?
Now think of someone who lives with a purpose. Who spends their days working towards a cause they believe in. (That could be anything from supporting their local church, to raising the best kids they can, to hustling on their side business and generate a second income).
When it comes to going to bed, that person probably doesn’t like it as much as the first. But they know they need to get a good sleep if they want to be at their best tomorrow. If they want to take the biggest steps forward they can towards their goal.
Coasting through life makes sleep an inconvenience because it ruins your downtime. Having a purpose in life makes you want to rest well so you can be at your best when you tackle the next day.
Strategy 3: Create an Evening Routine
I’m going to preface this by saying that this strategy doesn’t matter.
If you nail the first two strategies, this one will slide right into place. That being said, it can help you sleep much better, so I’m going to include it.
One of the best things you can do for your life balance is to have an evening routine.
This isn’t anything complicated. It’s simply a sequence of things you go through at the end of the day to get your brain and body understanding it’s almost time to drift off.
Typically, a ‘routine’ could be :
- Turning off the computer/TV at a set time (I use a digital timer as a ‘killswitch’ on my PC at a set time every night)
- Writing out your plan for tomorrow (this also gets the thoughts out of your head).
- Prepare your bag and any clothes
- Make a cup of tea, and read a book
- Brush your teeth, head to bed, and read some more until you fall asleep.
Everyone’s night time routine is unique, so figure out what would work best for you, and do your best to stick to it.
As annoying as ending our free time is, sleep unfortunately wins out against just about anything in life.
I can’t understate how important sleep is for our health, happiness, and general wellbeing. Personally, I’m practically a different person if I’ve not slept well for a few nights.
By following the strategies above, I’m now sleeping better than ever. For the first time in years, I don’t even need to distract myself with reading in bed anymore. My computer dies around 10.30pm, I slowly wind down, and I’m asleep within minutes of climbing into bed.
I hope this article can bring you closer to accepting sleep into your life again, and using the superpower it gives you to work towards building an incredible life for yourself.
Thanks for reading, and sleep well!