Our level of productivity depends as much on our inactivity as our activity. Failing to get a good night’s sleep prevents our bodies and brains from fully recharging. Like a car battery, if we try to operate on less than a full charge both our short and long term performance will deteriorate.
Whether you are waking up tired or struggling to get to sleep, here are some tips that can help:
1. No screens – To achieve deep and restful sleep we must allow our minds to switch off from the day’s activity; watching the news or checking emails in bed has the opposite effect. Adopt a no screens policy for at least an hour before you switch off the light, instead read some captivating fiction and allow your mind to travel to another place.
2. Good ingredients – Eating rich food and drinking alcohol may make us feel good, and even drowsy, but when it comes to proper sleep we need to give our bodies a break and not expect our digestive tract to work hard through the night.
3. Tire yourself out – Sitting in front of a computer all day consumes very little energy, especially compared to our ancestors who would have spent their day doing physical work out in the fresh air. Our muscles need to be tired along with our brains to achieve quality sleep. Swimming is probably the best sleep improving exercise but even a walk before heading up to bed can make a significant difference.
4. Write and forget – If you find yourself waking up at 3am with your mind racing with ideas and anxieties the best cure is to write them down. This process of logging the thought allows your mind to return to less important thoughts and dreams.
5. Get comfy – We spend a third of our lives in bed; it’s far and away the place where we spend the most time, yet few of us invest significantly in good bedding. After 5 years most mattresses have lost their original bounce and after 10 years of lying on the same bed there’s a good chance that your mattress is causing you harm. Alongside the mattress good pillows are essential. A little online research will not just show you what’s available but will also tell you which hotels use the best bedding so you can try before you buy.
These simple steps could dramatically improve your sleep and therefore your days. If you’d like to build on this to get some more tips on mastering time, technology and tension then sign up to our forthcoming workshop How to be More Productive and Less Stressed on Friday March 16th.