I read an article yesterday that said scientists in California may have discovered a gene that people can genuinely feel rested and get enough done with only 6 hours of sleep. I was immediately intrigued as I have not slept 8 hours straight in a night for more than a year, maybe 5, who’s counting? And if I have, it has been Aleve PM induced and I try not to use that unless absolutely necessary. 6 hours of uninterupted sleep for me is a godsend, 7 is a miracle and any more than that, then I am more exhausted than I know how to handle. I’ve now self-diagnosed myself with this gene.
Who cares about my sleep?
Nobody, but I’m sharing this with you as a full time career woman, a yoga teacher, an entreprenuer, a dog mom, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, and a serial optimist that one day I’ll meet him and continue to filter out the not-hims by going on a lot of first dates. All of these things come into consideration when I lay my head down on my hypo-allergenic down pillow with crystals in the pillowcase to give me serenity, self-love, calm, etc. When my mind wakes me up it goes to one or some of these things but most likely everything on that list of what makes me who I am. The people in my life likely don’t know I’m up concerned about their wellbeing; my success; our safety; and the future and thankfully it hasn’t affected anyone negatively, yet.
When I first started having “trouble” sleeping, I was frustrated. I did not know how to cope with it, all I knew were the things in my life that were not helping me sleep. I spoke to someone who advised me “stop stressing about it when you find yourself awake in the middle of the night. Use that time to rest.” There is a difference between sleep and rest and once I figured that out, I accepted my fate as a 6 hour-a-nighter. And I’m rested. I get the things done that need to get done. I rest when my body and mind allow it and I’ve embraced napping!
Make it work
Accepting is one part of the process to feeling rested after a short and/or interrupted slumber. But here are some other factors that help me, personally:
Eating right and most importantly…For my body – I’m not a nutiritionist. I see so many articles and blogs about what to eat for better sleep and what not to eat, but those people don’t have my DNA, my schedule, allergies, sensitivites, nor know all the things that keep me healthy. I won’t suggest to you what to eat and drink and what not to, I don’t know you, but you do! I eat what energizes me, sustains me and prevents me from resting. And I know what foods don’t and when I fall off that wagon, I know what is coming and I’ve accepted that fate.
Exercise – The more I keep my body moving, the more days I give myself 60 minutes of uninterrupted fitness, the more my body adapts to the effects of poor sleep, high stress and overthinking.
Do the work – I cannot go to sleep leaving something undone. If I do, I will inevitably wake up with that sickening feeling and so I will get up and do it at 4am or 2am or 11pm, because yes, my head hits the pillow at 10pm. I go to bed feeling confident I did the work or I start to rest easy once I have done it.
How does this affect me as an event planner?
Likely you have sleep deprivation or the gene or the same stresses, so perhaps this reminded you of yourself, on a personal level. But how do you do something for your events to help others? Here’s my advise:
Provide food variety, it doesn’t have to be vegan and it doesn’t have to be sweets and coffee breaks either. Give options to what people will want to use as fuel, they will figure it out on their own and happy to make a choice. Everybody and Every Body are different.
Provide options for fitness! I bet you didn’t see that coming…Options from fitness classes to 5ks to guided meditations… give people easy access to burn it off, wake up, sweat it out or a mid-day pick-me-up. When keeping on routine, they are more likely to feel refreshed, energized and eager to learn. Not to mention, rested!
Finally, I suggest making time in your agendas for “downtime”. When people travel for events they still have work at home that needs to get done; emails to answer, calls to take, and appointments to make. If your agenda includes two 30 minute “Get it Done” breaks throughout the day or ending early for “Get it Done Happy Hour” – think free drinks in a library setting. They can go to bed feeling like they didn’t miss anything at home and also got the most out of the conference.