Four Ways To Improve Your Sleep For Better Work Performance
These days, it seems like so many factors are at play to prevent us from getting the proper deep sleep we need to function optimally. We know that sleep is fundamental for mental and physical health - itâ€™s the time that our bodies go into deep regeneration mode, detoxify, and provide us the energy we need to move through our days.Â
Without the proper amount of sleep (seven to nine hours for most adults), a whole host of issues start to occur, spanning physical, psychological, and behavioral maladies. Sleep-deprived individuals tend to feel irritated, cognitively dull, depressed, lack creativity and initiative, and often suffer from digestive issues, headaches, muscular tension, and many other potential issues.Â
That being said: what are the factors that often threaten the sleep of corporate workers?Â
- Procrastinating on bedtime - Many people tend to push off their sleeping time to fit more leisure hours into the after-work time of the day, when this actually just creates a viscous cycle of feeling more drained the following day.Â
- Stress and overwork - Itâ€™s an unfortunately common habit for people to lay in bed with laptops open or frantically emailing on their phone well into the hours of the night. There are real benefits and drawbacks to our world of constant connection, but work stress and overwhelm can easily spread into the time we should be resting.Â
- Too much screen time - Whether for work or personal use, screen time is at an all time high and is an absolute sleep killer. From blue light screens to the hyperactive state our mind goes into when flicking between apps and browsers, screen time before bed is the antithesis of a positive sleep habit.Â
- Eating too late - Those habits of evening screentime are all-too-often accompanied by late-night meals or snacking, which impedes rest as the body is focused on digestion rather than rejuvenation.Â
From here, we can reverse-engineer the strategies to ensure regular, healthy sleep patterns for optimal health.Â
Create nourishing bedtime rituals
When we mindfully bring nourishing rituals into our life, it helps to crowd out the less helpful and less conscious habits we have that compromise our well-being (late-night screen time, watching TV, snacking/drinking, etc.) The key is to make bedtime something you look forward to - just like when you were a kid! Your rituals might include drawing a bath or having a relaxing shower, using lotion or oils on your skin with a relaxing fragrance before sleep, lighting a candle, or dimming the lights in your room with some soft music half an hour before bed. All of these signals will notify your brain itâ€™s time to start winding down, and youâ€™ll find it much easier to get into a rhythm with a regular, earlier bedtime.Â
Have boundaries around work and screen time
It goes without saying that healthy boundaries around work are imperative to maintain oneâ€™s well-being, but this is especially true for sleep health. Create a time frame around when you check your last email and sign out from work for the night, so your mind can relax in your personal life and pastimes in the evening. And on top of this, start â€œfastingâ€ from screen time at least 1-2 hours before bedtime, to give your body the chance to enter into its natural circadian rhythms without the interference of blue light screens.Â
Try bedtime meditation
Meditation is a wonderful way to slow your mind down and prepare yourself for a restful nightâ€™s sleep. There are many guided meditations online you can choose from, or simply try this: lay down comfortably in your bed, close your eyes, and focus on the rhythm of your breath in and out. Bring your awareness through your body, from the top of your head all the way to the bottom of your feet. As you scan through your body, see if you can bring a sense of total relaxation and openness to every muscle, joint, and bone. Allow your thoughts to come and go, simply bringing your awareness back to your breath. Do this for 5-10 minutes, and notice if you feel more relaxed and ready for rest.Â
Cut off the foodÂ
For optimal rest at night, itâ€™s important to eat our last meal several hours before sleep, so the body is not working on digestion when it should be preparing for your sleep cycle. While it can be hard habit to break at first, set limits on your nighttime snacking with a simple time limit on the last food you eat before bed. (You may need to move dinnertime earlier, in case you like to have a small snack or dessert!) The positive effects will be immediately noticeable, and the more restful sleep you get will likely be a positive trigger to keep this cycle going. Itâ€™s also important to note that alcohol, while initially a relaxing agent, actually impairs sleep and will leave you feeling more tired the next day - so itâ€™s wise to cut it out whenever possible.Â
Kristen is an RYT-200 certified yoga instructor, transformational life coach, and energy healer with a passion for guiding students back to their most powerful essence, purpose, and truth within. She originally studied yoga in India and has been leading classes and retreats worldwide in Europe, Thailand, Bali and the USA, gaining expertise in a variety of holistic healing and movement modalities while immersed in these cultures.
She brings her warmth and humor to the mat, and helps her students and clients learn to live, move and breathe consciously, become empowered in self-care, and experience greater levels of energy and well-being.
Find her meditation and stretching videos on Remote Stretch TV.