5 Ways To Dramatically Improve Your Sleep

It’s dark. You’re laying in bed. Staring at the ceiling. 


The house is still. It seems like the rest of the world has gone to sleep. The streets have quieted outside. You know it is sometime in the ‘middle of the night’.


You wonder what time it is. 


You glance over to your cell phone laying on the bedside table and think, ‘no, don’t look, you just checked five minutes ago’. 


Regardless, you know it will just stress you out as you think of the dwindling time you have left before you have to be awake and productive again.


Can you relate?


I know this has happened far too often to me.


So what are some easy strategies to help you turn off your brain and finally catch some well deserved zzz’s? 


Well check out some of the ideas below:


1. Get physical!


No really, get physical. Go on a run, go play some soccer, walk to the store instead of driving, dance like a maniac around your house. Just do something physical.


Its amazing what a little activity can do to your health, mental well being AND your ability to sleep.


Not only does it make you feel good. It also wears your body out physically, which will just make you that much more tired and that much more able and willing to go to sleep.


And when you have an exhausted body, its much easier to drift off to Neverland.


2. Turn off those darn electronics!


Yup, this is a classic one. And one that I am 100% guilty of myself. 


But truly - we have no idea what kind of impact staring into a bright screens really has on our eyes and our brains and thus our ability to sleep.


We are wired to respond to natural light. The sunrise and the sunset.


If you’ve ever been camping for an extended period of time you will know what I am talking about. Just a few days into your camping experience you find that you get tired as soon as it gets dark and you pop awake as soon as the sun rises above the horizon. This is how we are wired, which explains how unnatural light - like that of a laptop or cell phone screen - can mess with our heads - especially when on their fully bright setting.


3. Distract your wandering mind with stories - in particular, try to read something.


When you’re having one of those nights where you just cannot shut off the inner monologue - try distracting yourself. And since I already mentioned not staring into screens like a cellphone, laptop or tv - one of the only other options is to pick up a book.


I know what you may be thinking - but I hate reading!


First of all, a book nerd like myself thinks you’re crazy. But since I know there are many others like you out there in the world, let me say this.


If your goal is to fall asleep, is it really all that bad to pick up a book? I mean if your main complaint is that you always fall asleep reading because it’s sooo boring - isn’t this the perfect choice to get yourself to fall asleep?


And if you’re like me and love books then you know the mental escape alone will eventually break the mental running monologue taking over your thoughts. And it will eventually allow you to sleep. (Just remember - for those of us who love books - to stay away from those thrillers or you just might stay awake all night because it’s sooo good - and that just defeats the purpose.)


4. Avoid stimulants after early afternoon - if not completely.


Any other caffeine addicts out there? Raise your hands! Yup. Me too.


Anyone else get shaky and weirdly wired after drinking coffee? I do.


Anyone else have to lay off the caffeine after a certain time of day because you know it screws with your sleep schedule? Yup. Once again, that is me.


So why is it so hard to lay off the coffee? Habit maybe. Social expectation possibly. Just because its sitting there in the office and its free and its warm and I just want something that tastes and smells yummy next to me all day and I never think about the consequences until its too late. That too.


So for another somewhat obvious one - avoid the stimulants. Whatever that may be. For me it is caffeine and coffee. For others green tea or dark chocolate may have the same effect. For others coffee may do nothing - but their afternoon energy drink is their vice. 


So if you know you struggle with something like this try to cut down, if not completely cut out. Or at least create new rules for yourself in order to give yourself more and better rest later in the evening. You won’t regret it when you finally crawl into bed and awake rested the next morning.


5. Pray or meditate.


Breathe in. Breathe out.


Slowly now.


Do it again.




Can you feel the coolness of your breath as you take a breath in? Now do you feel the warmth as it escapes your lips and you breathe out?


As you breathe out think about one of the things that has been stressing you out. With the next breath in - choose to recognize it - and with the next breath out - let it go. Do this with each of your worries and keep repeating until you feel a sense of calm descend upon your mind and body.


Now spend some time talking to God about whatever is going on in your life. Really allow yourself to bring up all of the thoughts stressing you out, bring it forth, ask for guidance or help and with each breath out choose to let it go.


As you work your way through this practice, slowly but surely you should feel your entire body relax and release the pent up frustrations, worries and stresses from the day which hopefully allow you to drift into sleep.


So from what you can see above, getting sleep is really all about living in a healthy manner and listening to our bodies. Rather than hyping it up on stimulants to get through the day, it may actually be better to attempt to sleep better so as to not need the stimulants any longer.


And rather than keep ourselves awake unnaturally late into the evening, it may be worth readjusting our clocks to one that more closely matches the sunrise and sunset.


And when it comes to being tired it can be great to have BOTH a tired mind and body.


And those worries and stresses that keep you up at night? Try to find something to calm and bring yourself to a place of restfulness just before falling asleep.


Because ultimately, whether we flourish on 4 hours of sleep or we need 9, we all need sleep of some amount. And the better quality and the easier it is to come by, the better for us, our mental well being, our work performance and ultimately how we experience life.


Do you have any tips of your own? If so, please share them in the comments below or join the new Facebook Group, The Rested Entrepreneur to share your thoughts and ideas!



Is Productivity Killing You?

Productivity secrets and life hacks are great. At least, I love them.


I often find myself browsing online and clicking on nearly every link promising life changing “hacks” to make my days more productive and easier. When I scan through an article I find myself thinking - wow! these could actually work!


Every once in a blue moon I may actually apply one to my life - sometimes to great success.


One of my favorite “hacks” is making layered salads in mason jars for the week. Saves so much time and money later in the week. Gives me an easy, healthy, go-to lunch everyday, and means I have one less decision to make at 6am- which is always appreciated.


So I love these things. And honestly, I think much of the first world does as well.


Who doesn’t want tools to help us make less daily decisions, get things done in less time and with less stress?


So what is wrong with these?


Well fundamentally nothing. In fact, the more clever ideas can help people, the better.


However, I would argue that what is wrong is not the ideas themselves, but what they represent. 


Ultimately, the popularity of these ideas shows us that we live in a society that prizes productivity and getting more done in less time. 


“Well, duh…” you might say, “whats wrong with that?” 


Well nothing - until it gets in the way of resting and down time.


The problem I see is that we so badly want to get more and more done that when we reach a point emotionally, physically and/or mentally when we need a break - we struggle to actually give ourselves a break without overwhelming feelings of guilt and shame. We feel guilty about off time. We feel FOMO (fear of missing out) for fear of missing something fun. On sick days we find ourselves still working - just from home.


There is something wrong with this.


When our bodies reach the point where we get signals to slow down and rest we need to listen, respond and honor them.


Instead, we see this as weakness and as something that we can work or play through.


Side Note: Going and doing fun things whether playing a sport, hiking, going out for drinks - as much as they can be rejuvenating to a certain extent - these things still do not count as rest because you come home just as exhausted, if not more so than when you left.


So what do I propose?


I propose that we give ourselves PERMISSION.


We give our society and our friends permission to take a break.


Rather than guilt our friends into joining us when they tell us they need a day off - we should respect it and tell them we both understand and are impressed they are taking care of themselves.


Rather than reach out to coworkers on their sick days to see if they are well enough to get some work done - we should encourage them to turn off their cell phones and email and allow themselves to fully recover for work the following day. 


Rather than beat ourselves up over not getting the to do list done on a Saturday - we should respect our bodies and the innate understanding they have about our needs - and remember that anything that needs to get done can be completed the following day when our energy is back to normal.


And when we find ourselves craving a nap rather than a run on a Thursday afternoon- we should be willing to listen to that as well (within certain reason - we don’t want nap time taking over exercise).


Because ultimately if we give ourselves the time we so deeply crave to rest and be still and truly recover - we can and will be stronger than we can ever imagine when we reemerge fully recharged.


So what do you say?


Lets make a pact with one another to consciously choose to run on full battery rather than half. Lets make the intentional effort to no longer guilt ourselves or others when they need a day off and be willing to listen to the cues our bodies are giving us day in and day out.


Because I can only imagine how awesome this world could be if everyone were fully engaged and living life to their fullest.



In the comments tell me, what are your thoughts on productivity and how does it hurt or help you in your day to day life?

Are You A Human Being?

Or are you a Human Doing?


Have you ever paused to consider what human being, the very words we use to describe ourselves, really mean?


hu-man be-ing (noun) a man, woman, or child of the species Homo sapiens, distinguished from other animals by superior mental development, power of articulate speech, and upright stance.


Is it a surprise that the very term we use to describe our species, humanity in general, has the word BEING in it?


Now what does being mean?



  1. present participle of be
  2. existence


And be? Well be means to exist.


So what is it with our obsession to constantly be in action? To constantly be doing?


Yesterday at church, a friend asked me how I was, and all I could answer was that I was busy.




Really? Is that what I am? At my current emotional and physical state, is that what I am?


As I walked away I had the unsettling feeling that I had said something that I didn’t agree with. I wasn’t busy. I am. I am a person. I am a soul. Granted I am a person living in a season of chaos. I am confused. My mind is constantly streaming. I am starting a new job, finishing up my certification as a Certified Health Coach (I will be done in about a week, yay!). Starting an online business course and still getting settled into a new life. But I know this is a season, and no matter how crazy it may feel, it shouldn’t define me. 


It doesn’t define me.


Yet, once again I found that busy word slipping out of my mouth.


I know this isn’t just me. Ask any five people how they are in America - or granted most first world countries - and I can almost guarantee that at least one if not three will respond with something similar to busy.


What caused us to lose touch with the very essence of being human?


To sit still. To listen to the life pumping from our hearts. To calm our thoughts. To focus on our breath. To spend time in prayer, meditation or reading sacred texts?


Is it social media? A focus on success? Technology? The pace of the world? High work expectations? The “American Dream”? What?


It could be all of them, it could be none of them. Regardless, it has happened, and I think humanity has suffered as a collective due to it.


We have lost touch with others, with the natural world, our own bodies and with our creator.


The constant action of doing has become an addiction. An idol. Something we define ourselves by. 


I think it is time to change.


It is time we learn how to listen to our bodies. To understand what it is we really need. To spend time with family. To cultivate close friendly and romantic relationships. To stare at our partners in bed, rather than our phones before falling asleep. 


To notice the sweet smelling flowers in bloom as we run (Santa Barbara is absolutely bursting with floral scents along every sidewalk - jasmine, orange blossoms, roses and much more - it is amazing!). To spend time staring at and appreciating the nature that surrounds us - whether snow piled high or red rocks glowing as the sun sets or the mountains emerging from the darkness as the sun rises - it is all beautiful and an amazing gift.


To recognize what our bodies are really feeling. Recognize when we are exhausted and allowing ourselves to stop and sleep. Recognize that our bodies tell us what they want if we just pay attention. Be willing to experiment with foods to learn what makes us feel our best.


To recognize that there is something greater than ourselves in this universe and beyond. To allow our soul exploration and discovery. To allow ourselves to connect with God.


The concepts of fighting through life and pulling yourself up by the bootstraps are motivating, yes - but personally, I am starting to believe they are wrong.


We are meant to depend on God. To depend on one another. On the community around us. We are relational beings. 


When we unclench our fists and let go of the control we want over our lives- and give it over to God, something amazing happens. The pressure is lifted. It is no longer us against the world instead it is us with God


He gave us our individual desires and abilities for a reason. 


There is a reason I am so in love with Cape Town, South Africa that I went to live there for 2.5 years and have left a bit of myself there (and will be back again!).


There is a reason I have the dream to start my own business.


A reason I started this blog.


I do not believe that giving up control means giving up on your dreams - rather it is lifting them from our shoulders. Giving them over to a power far greater than our own. Giving ourselves the ability to be calm, to listen, to live and ultimately - just BE.


So join me. Choose to alleviate the pressure and focus on how you can change the way you look at yourself and your life so when someone asks, how are you? the answer is no longer just busy - rather it is something more. Because you are more than what you are doing. You are a HUMAN BEING.