Whether you have just had a long day or you’re heading into one, a good night’s sleep is paramount.
A bad night’s sleep can throw off your entire week. It will make you burn out easier, you will be less productive, and you will become physically and mentally exhausted.
You can’t always control whether or not you have a good night’s sleep, but there are a few things you can do (and some others you can avoid) that will help with your situation.
Start a bedtime ritual
Getting into a good habit before bed will help train your body to naturally prepare for sleep. Think about how the motion of chewing makes your body expect food and become hungry.
A consistent calming ritual every night before bed will help you wind down and be ready for sleep. This could be 20 minutes of reading, a relaxing bath, or a cup of warm milk or herbal tea – just make sure the tea is caffeine-free!
Preserve the bedroom for sleep
Making sure your bedroom is a sacred place, kept only for sleep, is really important. The temptation to flick through social media on your phone can be extremely strong, but it’s important that you avoid bright screens in the bedroom.
This doesn’t just apply to when you’re getting ready for bed. Even if you’re working from home, you should avoid using your laptop in bed or using your bedroom as a place where you work.
Keep your bedroom for relaxing tasks or just sleeping to ensure your brain is trained to recognise your bedroom as a place to unwind.
Unwind before bed
This may seem like another bedroom ritual, but it actually stretches much further back in your day. If you’ve had a particularly busy or stressful day in work, you’ll need to unwind from that.
Big meals, alcohol and devices in the two hours before going to bed are all stimulants that could keep you alert and prevent you from having a good night’s sleep.
Take the time to disconnect from your devices after work, engage your brain in something relaxing, and avoid eating or exercising before bed.
Avoid lie-ins at the weekend
This is a tough one, but messing with your regular sleep pattern will cause problems for you during the week when it comes to a good night’s sleep.
That Sunday morning lie-in you love so much is the reason you might suffer from that Sunday night fear that gives you such a bad night’s sleep. This will give you a terrible start to the week and you’ll feel like you’re catching up for days.
Keeping your sleeping pattern as close to your usual weekdays as possible will help your body get ready for sleep on Sunday night, and the power of habit will do most of the work.
Meditate for a good night’s sleep
Mindfulness and meditation are powerful tools to avoid burnout from work. They’re also a great way to help your body wind down after a busy day.
Even if you just take some time before bed to close your eyes and concentrate on some deep breathing, you will go a long way towards destressing and helping your body and mind to relax ahead of sleep.
Think positive thoughts
One of the main ways your working life can affect your sleep is through your thoughts. An overstimulated mind as you’re lying in bed is bad news for your sleep.
Many of us are guilty of worrying about a big meeting, running through how much we have to do the next day or thinking about how busy they were the day before.
Instead, retrain your brain to focus on positive thoughts before bed. Actively think about things you’re grateful for, positive things that happened during the day and other happy thoughts. This will help you get out of the habit of worrying and stressing about work, and help you drift off to sleep.