Recently, perhaps because of all the stress associated with the start of a new year, I’ve been speaking to clients about the issues they’re having around sleep.
More specifically, they ask if I’ve got any tips to help them get a sound night’s rest.
You could call it ironic that people choose to speak to me about sleep, since I’ve been an insomniac ever since I was a child. However, that only means I understand all too well how a continual lack of sleep can ruin your health.
It also means I’ve made an effort to incorporate good sleep into my wellbeing routine. Instead of just going to bed, I prepare for bedtime just as I would do for a child.
In short, that means not loading myself with sugar or caffeine just before bed, powering down my laptop in good time, and indulging in a warm bath or some calm music.
In case you’re in need of some extra help, here are some extra ‘good sleep tips’ I’ve picked up along the way.
Ditch the TV and try to associate your bedroom only with sleep and sex. This has made a huge difference to me, as it has stopped me from squeezing in yet another episode of Breaking Bad before I drift off!
(The same goes for late-night calls. I have a family member in Australia, and when we used to chat just before my bedtime, the excitement would keep me awake for hours. Unfortunately, that had to stop).
Make your bedroom irresistible, with a good quality mattress, and the most sumptuous bedding you can afford. I recently invested in a silk pillowcase this summer, which not only feels luxurious, but has some wonderful benefits, such as keeping my head temperature down.
Embrace the darkness, so that you’re not disturbed by stray threads of light as you sleep. I have a blackout Roman blind, along with a thick curtain, so nothing but the most determined rays are going to get through! I also take a blackout mask on holiday with me, to avoid being woken up too early.
Reduce ‘blue’ light – if you’re thinking that your iPhone or tablet is OK because it’s not too bright, I’m afraid you’re mistaken! Blue light still affects the quality of our sleep, so I tend to wear ‘blue blocking’ glasses (which you can get from sites like Amazon, with clear lenses I hasten to add).
Avoid stimulation before bed, such as exercise, work, or even getting lost in a thriller novel! My Dan Browns had to go, as I found I couldn’t put them down, and then the excitement kept me up for a lot longer than it should.
Being self-employed, I would also find myself answering reams of emails before bed. Now I make a hand-written list at night, of everything I need to complete on the following morning.
I could go on! For example, my husband gets up earlier than me, which means a good set of earplugs come in very handy on occasion. I keep my bedroom nice and cool, and I’ve also worked hard waking up and going to bed at the same times.
Getting a good night’s sleep will rarely happen as if by magic. Instead, try to treat preparation for bed as part of your self-care routine. You deserve to get some good rest, especially since it means you’re more likely to be firing on all cylinders tomorrow!
Follow my blog for more self-care tips and stories (I will also be releasing an eBook about sleep very soon). If you’d like some personalised wellbeing tips and advice, why not get in contact?
Confidence to Return works alongside HR and L&D professionals, and business owners, to support employee wellbeing in expert ways that promote a happy, healthy, and motivated workforce.