Sleep and sleep-related habits are frequently scrutinised in the media, with statistics highlighting how important quality sleep is, and how few of us seem to be getting it.
90% adults report not getting enough sleep and 25% struggle with Sunday night insomnia. Sleep-related issues cost UK businesses £40 billion each year, or 200,000 days’ productivity, due to absenteeism, accidents and poor performance.
Let’s look at some ways to plan for a good night’s sleep;
– Consistency’s important. Aim to have a regular time to get up, finish work and go to bed. Prepare ahead for the coming day by making your packed lunch, putting petrol in the car, having your paperwork ready to go. Use lists so you’re organised and feel more in control. Plan your clothes or adopt a uniform outfit or colour.
– Be proactive and deal with any stressors, then park them until further input’s required. Try to avoid replaying situations in your mind. Be disciplined and calm your ‘fight or flight’ approach to stress. Take regular breaks, eat healthily and schedule fresh air and exercise; adopt a positive approach to work/life balance and getting a good night’s sleep.
– Dedicate quality time to family, friends but also schedule ‘me time’ for things that are important, but which may not include others. Be more assertive and say ‘no’ sometimes to requests and demands. Be firm about how much time you’re prepared to compromise.
– Home-workers often have an office in the bedroom. Screen it off after work so that’s it’s not always in your line of sight. Change out of your work clothes, go for a walk and ensure your bedroom becomes a peaceful, relaxing place. Minimise clutter and excessive technology.
– Turn your phone and laptop off two hours before bed, so avoiding the temptation to check in ‘just once more’. Designate times for going online and use your time more efficiently. Turn your phone to silent and keep it away from the bed as it can affect the quality of your sleep.
– Avoid having meaningful, important or stressful conversations before bed. When you’re busy, preoccupied or over-tired they’re not productive and can constantly replay in your mind, hence disrupting your sleep. Agree to discuss serious matters at a better time and ensure that they actually do take place.
– Many people have work that requires either mental or physical effort, resulting in tiredness in one area but not the other. Find balance by committing to quizzes and crosswords, or walking, swimming, the gym, so that you’re fully exerted both physically and mentally.
– Wind down before bed with a relaxing bath or shower to wash away the days’ stresses. Read, enjoy a hot, milky drink, meditate, listen to relaxing music or practice some yoga, all ways to let your mind and body know that it’s preparing to go to bed and have a good night’s sleep.
Being committed to a positive bedtime routine is a great investment in supporting a good night’s sleep. Then you’re ready for each coming day, feeling refreshed and recharged.
by Susan Leigh