Our resident success coach, Rachel Letham, teaches us three ways to combat tiredness and improve our sleep pattern:
Even though brighter times and spring is on their way, you may still be feeling the effects of the latest lockdown. Well, good news because it’s as if the world is on our side this month.
March is National Bed Month, features National Napping Day, World Sleep Day and International Day of Happiness. There must be a formula here somewhere, maybe “sleep + well-made bed = happiness”?
At the moment if you’re working at home, you may be tempted to go to bed late, rise late, be in your pyjamas for your first ‘non-video’ call of the day and generally be out of sync with your normal pre-lockdown sleep routine. However, this pattern of behaviour won’t help in the long-run when we finally emerge out of our lockdown chrysalis state into “new normal” butterflies…
Sleep is one of our fundamental needs. It impacts everything that we do, yet we often don’t do enough of it, do it well enough or give it much time and thought. Sleep is a basic physiological need, according to psychologist Abraham Maslow, who categorised sleep in the first set of needs in his Hierarchy of Needs principle.
Without sleep, it is impossible to function effectively. For a few days, sleep deprivation can continue, but not for an extended period of time. The body needs sleep and the mind needs time to rest and replenish. Sleep is required to nourish our body, rejuvenate our systems and keep metabolism functioning properly. Although sleep experts stress the importance of sleep, they also warn us that excessive sleeping may be a sign of health ailments such as diabetes, depression, sleep apnea and obesity. Sleep is a basic human need but often one that needs fine-tuning; how much each individual needs can differ substantially.
The stress of last year means that your sleep cycle, as well as the quality of your sleep, may well have been disrupted. Now is the time to give your sleep routine a boost and build some powerful new sleep habits.
3 ways to give your sleep routine a boost:
In having children, we quickly learn how beneficial it is to set up a strict night-time routine. Bath time, reading a story and tucking them up in bed, triggers the sleep pattern. By building your own pre-sleep routine, your brain will start to set to work with shutting down the ‘awake system’ and switching on the ‘sleep system’ to help you have a nourishing night of sleep.
Take some time to sit and journal what things you find relaxing.
What things could you do each night before bed in a quick 10-20 minute ritual that would demonstrate to your mind, body and soul that it is time for some shut-eye?
- Is it lighting a favourite scented candle and watching the flame flicker and glow?
- Perhaps it’s listening to the same relaxing track each night before bed.
- Maybe it’s reading 10 pages of a book to get your mind to switch off from the day.
- Perhaps it’s a calming meditation or audio sleep story.
Build your night-time ritual and after a few weeks of implementing these each night, you will notice yourself drifting off to a calm, deep sleep far more easily.
Say ‘good night’ to your phone
Is your phone the last thing that you look at before you go to sleep? Don’t worry, you’re not alone in this but you can do something about it.
Make a shift and build a new habit by spending the last hour before bed, away from your phone. Set your alarm, put it on ‘airplane’ mode and leave it out of arms reach. A positive habit to have in the last few minutes before you go to sleep is called visualisation. Visualisation should replace the use of your phone before bed. In our sleep, our imaginations play out, so visualisation before bed can be a great way to manifest what we want in life.
Take the time you are normally checking social media, reading your emails or catching up with the news to visualise instead. Think about what you want to do, experience and receive. Feel it, express gratitude for it, and close your eyes and visualize yourself experiencing it. Repeating this daily is a great practice for getting in touch with what you truly desire, creates time for you and allows your brain to switch off from technology. Getting in touch with your mind, body and soul before a good night’s sleep is a great habit to form.
You snooze you lose
Did know that an iPhone alarm clock gives you a 8 minute snooze? But is it worth it? If you’re a constant snoozer, you will wake up feeling even sleepier due to the cycle of activity your brain moves into.
There is no benefit to snoozing. When you wake up, then dip back into an early stage of sleep you are not doing your brain any good. Now is a great time to set yourself a goal to stop hitting the snooze button as we move into changing working patterns for a post-lockdown world.
So how to stop the snooze? Either put your phone on the other side of the room, so you have to get out of bed to switch the alarm off, or use a good old fashioned alarm clock without the snooze button!
“Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.” — Thomas Dekker, American Actor
Check out more from We are Wellbeing
Sleep – It’s A Biological Essential!