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5 Sleep Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making (And How They’re Hurting Your Blog)

Posted By Guest Blogger 16th of July 2012 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

This guest post is by Tania Dakka of Fit Freelancer.

Yes! Your great idea for the post you want to write on the density of the Himalayan fog and its effects on mountain goats has finally hit! And it’s only 3:18am! Woohoo!

But tomorrow morning, that content isn’t going to look so pretty, is it?

Tunnel vision has struck again and you find the time has gone out the window. Unfortunately, so did the quality of your work.

As bloggers, we love to squeeze every second out of the day that we can. We push ourselves, hyper-focused, right into hyper-drive. We don’t want to stop. We know we’ve got content to create and we’re not going to let a blank screen make us tap out.

My father always said I didn’t know where to stop. And I’m guessing you don’t either. It’s what drives us as bloggers.

Content crazy

The problem is you know what you want to do. You know what you need to do. But you don’t know how to do it right.

Sitting at your laptop all day makes you productive and happy. Until you get up and find your energy sapped, your head hurting. And your content, well, let’s just say it’s less than stellar.

You’re preparing posts when your brain is overworked and barely functional. You barely take creativity breaks or fit breaks or any other kind of break. (Unless you count your social media “networking” time.)

Staring minute after minute at your screen until the wee hours of the morning because you think you’re going generate some grand, isn’t the way to work smart. But, congratulations! It is the way to work hard.

As a blogger who wants to be productive and conquer the blogging world, you’ve got to let go of the habits that are keeping you tired and run down. You’ve got to give your body and mind the rest they so desperately need.

Optimize your sleep, optimize your blog

But resting isn’t the same as resting well. You need maximum results from your efforts. Right? You want to put out viral content that everyone needs and wants to share. You want your right readers to find you and fall in love with you.

Optimize your sleep, just like you optimize your copy and your website. Rest and be well-prepared. (You saw The Mechanic, right? “Victory loves preparation.”) Sleep is your preparation.

The fact is when you’re tired, you’re ill-tempered and short-sighted. The quality of your productivity won’t be what it could be if you were functioning with a fully well-rested mind. And not only do you put out poor quality words, you eat more junk food and give in to cravings when you haven’t bolstered your will power with the right kind of sleep.

Sleep is a powerful factor in every aspect of your life. It sets the foundation of your mood, your thinking, your creativity, and your energy. Avoid the following sleep mistakes and reinforce your blogging foundation and create great content again!

5 Sleep mistakes

Sleep mistake #1: Eating and drinking the wrong things at the wrong times

We all throw down whatever chow we can find when we’re focused on our blogging. Drinking coffee and eating heavy foods (like a whole pizza) before bed sabotages your sleep for the night.

Corrective action: Cut off caffeinated drinks early in the afternoon. Limit evening snacks to fruits or veggies in moderate amounts.

Sleep mistake #2: Not exercising

Avoiding exercise in the name of the blog puts your body at risk for disease and gives little outlet for exertion. Exertion affects the quality of your sleep. The more you wear yourself out physically, the better you’ll sleep. (You’ve seen the kids after a hard day at play, right?)

Corrective action: Exercise to full exertion at least four times per week. Although an ideal goal would be for 15 minutes a day, every day.

Sleep mistake #3: Hitting the hay too late

Staying up until all hours of the night and getting up early is an obvious killer for your sleep quality. As matter of fact, not having a sleep schedule guarantees that your body clock won’t find its needed rhythms so you don’t fall into that deep sleep you so desperately need.

Corrective action: Set a bedtime for the same time every night and stick to it. Shoot for seven hours every night. If you’re blogging late, write down your train of thought for your project and go to bed. Re-read your notes before starting the next day, and you’ll likely find you don’t miss a beat.

Sleep mistake #4: Not having a sleep routine

You know every time you sit down to the keyboard what your routine is. Your trigger is to sit, then your thought flips to social media. Then, you flip to email. Then, you flip to your blogging. It’s a routine that your mind knows well. If you don’t have a similar routine before bed, you’re not putting your mind into “sleep mode.”

Without the routine, your mind has to find its own route to sleep, which means it takes you longer to fall asleep.

Corrective action: Set up a routine that preps you for sleep and do it in the same order every night. For example, brush your teeth, put on your jammies, do some stretches, then lie down for some breathing exercises. Do them all in the same order each night and by the time you reach the end of your breathing exercises, your mind will be set to sleep so you drift off effortlessly.

Sleep mistake #5: Electronics in the bedroom

You read your ereader, smartphone, iPad, or tablet every night before bed. And that’s okay. You can still do that. But not in the bedroom. The light displays from electronics disrupt your body’s natural rhythms by introducing light when the mind thinks it’s time for dark, causing you a lower quality of sleep and to feel less rested the next day.

Corrective action: Keep your electronics in another room and make it a policy not to use them in the bedroom.

Are you guilty of any of these mistakes? What stops you from making sleep a priority so you can create a great blog? Tell us about it in the comments.

Tania Dakka, Fit Freelancer, helps freelancers thrive where life, fitness and productivity collide. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook and stay on top of your entrepreneurial game! (Warning: You may be asked to do a few pushups!)

About Guest Blogger
This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above.
  1. I’m completely guilty of #5: Electronics in the bedroom. My wife and I read on our iPhones in the dark before going to sleep. Then, first thing in the morning for worship we use the iPhones again. Maybe I should try leaving the phone in the living room and get an old fashioned alarm clock?

    • Ha! That’s a great solution! It will take some getting used to, but the rest you’ll get will be so worth it! Thanks for commenting, Joshua!

  2. I thought I could do without sleep in the weekends – my blogging time. Don’t work, period. It’s counter – productive and hard to do when you’re working a full time job as a programmer during the week.
    Back to ‘normal’ mode now. This weekend was productive for me.

    • Yes, when you have other responsibilities on top of your blogging, it’s super difficult to find time to get it all done. But punishing your body doesn’t help. One thing to try: spend some time planning before you get to work on your blog. That way the time you spend blogging is full productivity and takes less time! Whatever you do, I hope you can find a good balance! Thanks for commenting, Jan!

  3. Oh. This was exactly what I needed to find in my Reader now, it’s 11:19pm… Thank you, and good night! :)

  4. Wow, number 5 might be my problem! It’s something I never thought of…

    I have been going to sleep around the same time every night before midnight, exercising daily (33 days straight now), following the same sleep routine for years, and not eating after 8pm unless necessary.

    Sometimes I will still wake up like I got hit by a ton of bricks, but I never thought about the screen light part. I tend to watch a lot of YouTube videos or training videos right before sleep and that might be messing with me.

    Thanks for this awesome post!

    • Thank you, Gabe! I’m glad you found a nugget useful here! Sounds like you have all the right factors moving into place for you – exercising and eating right – that is so great! Hope the light trick is the one you need to sleep through the night! Thanks for commenting, Gabe!

  5. Ah, thanks for the tips! It’s refreshing to be told not to work ALL of the time. Tyranny of the should shall not always be correct, laying back is a great use of time.

    One of the things I’ve found: a trigger for sleeplessness can be in getting the brain rolling in the evening. If I lie down and my thoughts are spinning, it keeps me up for hours. I’ve found valerian root to be very helpful with this. If I do some heavy writing in the evening, take one when wrapping up, about half an hour later I feel sleepy, thoughts are slowed, and sleep comes easy.

    • Ohh, thanks for that tip, Jeff! Love it! I’ll have to check that out! (Especially considering it’s almost 4am here and I’m up for the same reason you just mentioned!) And thanks for taking the time to comment, Jeff!

  6. I can not agree with #5. I use and keep my electronics in the bedroom ALL the time. I have my desktop, laptop, two tablets, etc. If the light bothers you, just turn them off. Pretty simple. I sleep just fine with them in my room.

    • Thanks for commenting, BeatlesTrivia! Some people can go to sleep and not touch their electronics at night – and then some can’t. It’s great that you can! (I happen to be up at this hour because I checked my email at 2am and haven’t been able to get back to sleep:D) So 5 works best for me, if I don’t take it to bed, I don’t get tempted to check it if I happen to open my eyes. LOL Have an awesome day!

  7. Great info Tania!

    I like your step 2… exercising.

    It is very important. If you just sit in front of your computer all day it can make you very sleepy. If you take breaks every hour and refresh you can get a lot more done in a day. Simple things like going for a walk or run.

    • Exercising is awesome to wear you out and give your body that push. As bloggers, it’s something that we often have to push ourselves to do. Love that you know to work for an hour, then take a break. That’s a great productivity tip! Thanks for commenting, Matt!

  8. Hi Tania,

    Sleep less suffer more. I speak to people who sleep little or are night owls – in their mind, at least – who struggle terribly financially, or have little creativity. The culprit? Sleeping poorly plays a big part. You act more intelligently and effectively when you are well rested and raring to attack the day.

    I hit the hay between 9 and 10. I wake between 5 and 6. I exercise for 1 hour or more daily and work at set times during the day. Bust your tail enough and you WILL get enough sleep, this I know ;)

    Thanks Tania!


  9. I do follow most of the tips you mentioned. However I must admit I am not too much into exercising. I know how important it is for everyone. I will take your advice and start exercising at least 15 minutes a day.

  10. Thank you for this wonderful post. I’ve been trying to get this under control, but my body made me take SO MANY naps this weekend that I know I’m not doing enough. I’ll be working on #4.

    • Good luck, Jeanne! You have to give your body what it needs – sometimes you’ve got to exhaust yourself to get your body reset so you can get into a routine. Thanks so much for commenting! Hope you get it under control! Have an awesome week!

  11. Wow, great post very useful. When I first opened the page I thought this was going to be about things like putting a mailing list or designing your content so you can profit from your visitors the most while your sleeping, but this is something totally different and definitely more useful. Thanks for the post!

    • I’m very flattered, thank you, Cameron! Glad you found it useful! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment – have an awesome (and restful) week!

  12. Great Post, Tania

    Sleep is something we all have to factor in. It’s hard sometimes, if you get on a roll or have a deadline to meet, but if you want the best results you need to rest. NEED TO.

    If anyone can invent the 26 hour day, though, well, that would be good too :)

    Matthew (Turndog Millionaire)

    • Absolutely, Matt! LOL LOVE the idea of a longer day! And, yes, deadlines do push us. So we have to be prepared and well-executed so we don’t have to lose sleep over them! Thanks for commenting, Matt! Have a great week!

  13. Guess most of us are guilty of #3 and #5.

    Totally agree that we as bloggers are always on a overdrive to curate and write content. Maybe need a course correction NOW.

    • Especially when you KNOW you have so much to say and so many people to reach! Like you’d rather be generating than regenerating! LOL Thanks so much for commenting, Malhar! (And for the Twitter follow – I look forward to tweeting with you!)

  14. But are what are people who find it difficult to have a fixed bed time do? May be find out what keeps them awake when it is time to go to bed and realize that tomorrow is another great day.

    All I know is when you get your life (and projects and everything else) a little bit organized, it will be easy to get more quality sleep each night.

  15. i always forget about the electronics part
    i actually sleep with two cell phones beside me and that’s a horrible mistake
    thanks for reminding me of the risks

    • Most welcome, Meka! Glad you found a good reminder here – and thanks for taking the time to comment! Have an awesome week!

  16. Hey Tania,

    Very good post – need of the day for bloggers. To bloggers, everything that takes them away from their laptop is a waste of time! That’s what they think. That’s why they don’t get up to stretch, workout, relax, or even talk to people face to face!

    This kind of lifestyle hunts bloggers to poor health and brings in various health issues at an early age.

    I keep it a practice to go to bed at around 10 every night and wake up at around 5:30 to 6 every day. I do at least 20 mins of walking on the treadmill (if I’m not very exhausted I walk more :)).

    But I do have my tab by the bed and do some reading, check mails, record ideas that pop up etc. Gotta try changing that!


  17. I agree from one to four, but not in #5. In my case if I don’t have my iPhone with me at night I spend hours and hours moving around my bed hopelessly trying to sleep. I found that if I play puzzle games (complicated ones like Sudoku, Flow, etc) in bed I get extremely tired and I actually get sleeping, in like an hour. I read about the symptoms of insomnia and I have most of them so to fight it I been doing this for weeks with success. This works for me (not sure if it works for everyone else), but one thing I never do is check my RSS or social media at night (that’s like moving around the bed).

    • Yeah, getting caught up in the industry news was a really bad habit I had to break. Glad to hear that you’ve found a way to relax before sleeping, even if it is with electronics! :) What if you try the book versions of them? I wonder if they would have the same effect. Thanks so much for commenting, Luis!

  18. Great post, Tania
    I’ve found that if I don’t get exercise, I’m pretty much useless, because my mind is bouncing all over the place. We have three dogs and I walk them nearly every day, even in the rain, and it’s what keeps me sane.

    I love writing so much. Publishing my site is so much fun and it would be easy for me to stay up late into the night writing, polishing, scheduling, networking. I’ve had to create working hours for my site. I also have an organizer (the original kind that we write in) where I take notes on what I need to do, because when the work day is done, I need a To Do for the following morning.

    Thanks for this great post!


    • Thanks, Kimberly! I’m glad ou liked it! Awesome that you’re already in tune with your body enough to know you need the exercise – that’s super! Thanks so much for commenting!

  19. Nancy says: 07/17/2012 at 1:05 am

    I love the idea of a longer day, too. Of course, I’m not a medical professional, but my suspicion is that we’d end up needing more sleep in proportion to the longer day. You’ve given many great tips. The only thing I have an issue with is the recommendation of seven hours of sleep. Not everyone has the same sleep requirement, and the amount of sleep we need doesn’t stay the same throughout our lifetimes. Some people can do with seven; some definitely need eight, and the lack of that hour a night will deplete a body and mind — perhaps not noticeable immediately but, like dehydration, by the time you start to feel depleted you already are. Lots of people will believe what you read, so please be careful about making this kind of recommendation. Yours is not as bad as the blogger who said that she only needed two to three hours of sleep and “nobody” needs more than that. It behooves everyone to be responsible, and remember also that you put yourself in the way of possible legal action when you claim something that affects someone’s health or well-being. So either qualify it, or footnote a disclaimer. Please.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Nancy! You’re right – everyone is different! And that seven hours came from studies on productivity that have been done, but nevertheless, some disclaimer would be a smart way to go. Thanks for the recommendation and commenting!

  20. Mahroof Ali says: 07/17/2012 at 2:05 am

    And some other things not directly related to sleeping: 1) don’t ever have more than 10 tabs open in your browser. 2) Facebook and twitter feeds should’nt be one of those backgrounds tabs you have. 3) turn off any other live notifications. In short, everything that may distract you from what you are doing.
    While you are social networking, Social network(verb) with perfection. While you are reading, read with perfection and concentration. while you are blogging, do it with perfection, too. And so this is applicable to every other activity you do, including eating and sleeping. Mental health does affect creativity.

    And the one and only time-management tip I use : reduce multi tasking.(there are plenty of other tips I believe will work, but they are hard to keep on :} )

    • Thanks, Mahroof! You’re right – minimizing distractions is so necessary and I love that you don’t multi-task. That’s an admirable goal! Thanks for commenting!

  21. A common sense post but one which is very much needed. Avoiding sleep or not sleeping well in the name of being more productivity does more harm than good.

    I have been on the both sides of the equation…during the school I was known to be a night owl. I used to think that you just need to do your basic functions sleep, eat, bathe…sometime everyday…what time ? doesn’t matter.

    After getting a job and getting married and having a kid…my responsibilities forced me into a very strict schedule…now my day starts around 5:30 am and ends positively by 10:00 pm. If I stay up late ( mostly on weekends, I make sure I sleep in till late in the morning ) And I have been so much more productive with it. Not only that it also helps maintain a good routine for my daughter which is very important to set good habits in her.

    One thing I want to add to Tania’s list is “sleep at night”…for some reason I find the nighttime sleep to be much more relaxing and energizing. You can sleep the same time during the day and still wake-up groggy and cranky. I’m no doctor, but I think we are somehow wired to sleep best at night.

    • Very right, Anshu! Night time sleeping is much better for our internal clocks and our quality of sleep than trying to nap or sleep during the day. It’s amazing how we change from night owls to productive parents. Thanks so much for commenting!

  22. I thought that’s why we have coffee; to keep us awake so we can do more to be more. The reality is, I would bet everybody reading this post is guilty of at least 1-4 in some way or another. Electronics in the bedroom, at least I’m not guilty of that one.

  23. At least I don’t have # 5, but I do have a husband who snores, so that qualifies as having electronics in the bedroom that keeps me awake.

  24. I’m so guilty of # 3 – sometimes I neglect going to bed on time and having to wake up early in the morning for work and then late again the following night… and so and so and gradually I burn out and crash.

    thanks for such reminders to improve my blog contents and a healthier lifestyle.

  25. Getting enough sleep is a real problem for me — because I read in bed — because I go to bed late (after 11:30) — because I often have to get up at 5am — and then I read this research that says
    missing sleep doesn’t do me any good, and I’m only fooling myself if I just push through it.

    So, I’ve been trying, really, to get to bed by 9. Well, 10 – well, 10:30.
    In my dreams I get 8 hours a night…

    • It’s good that you know what you have to work on and what you’ve been trying to do! That’s great, Wendy! Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing the links and your comments!

  26. #5: Electronics in the bedroom,Can’t believe you said that !!!Everybody uses alarms and other gadgets in Bed room.

  27. Great blog post.
    I was actually watching an interview with Richard Branson the other day. When asked the question “If you could give one piece of advice to increase your productivity”, his answer was: “Physical Exercise!” So if you aren’t moving enough, that definatley hurts your blog.

    • Absolutely, Phil! And who should know better than the King of Companies. I think I read somewhere that he runs over 300 or 400 companies. Wow. That’s a testimony to fitness, yes? Thanks for taking the time to comment, Phil!

  28. I’m doing better controlling what I eat and getting more exercise. But the sleep schedule is tough. I’m trying to convert to bed at 11 and up by 8 when I’m used to bedtime at 1 and getting up about 9:30. I thought the bedtime didn’t matter as long as I got the required amount of sleep, but now I read that the bedtime itself matters. That gives me no really good blocks of time to work without interruption from the family.

    As to electronic devices in the bedroom, even my alarm clock has a light, and I turn it away from me. My bedroom doubles as my office during the day, and my computer has to be there, though it’s off at night. I cover the screen on my credit card terminal to block the light and hid most other electronic lights.

    • Awesome, Barbara! It sounds like you’re on the right highway to success! As far as the blocks of time to work, try chunking your projects into smaller bites and maybe you can fit them in. I work in 1.5hour blocks since they are optimal for productivity and you’d be surprised what you can accomplish. Good luck and thanks for commenting!

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