Do you often have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep? Or maybe you do sleep, but still don’t feel bright and sparkly in the morning?
You might be wondering what is causing your sleeping problems and, of course, how to fix them. Read on to discover if your work is causing insomnia and easy ways you can beat it.
Work-related causes of insomnia (and how to cure them)
We live in a fast-paced, 24/7, high-tech, constantly connected world. (Just saying that is enough to make me tired!) Sleep problems are on the rise and when you look at how we live and work, it’s easy to see why. The good news is that when it comes to sleep, small changes can have a big impact.
The truth is that most of us are not prioritizing relaxation and sleep. Modern society glorifies busyness and sleep deprivation. You might not think you have time to get enough sleep because you are so busy with work, family, and life admin. ‘Sleep is for the weak’, right?
Wrong! The truth is that if you are not getting enough rest, you cannot function to your full potential, both at work and in your relationships. Lack of sleep can impact the ability to learn, decision-making skills, motivation and even emotional intelligence.
Make sleep a priority. Sleep is one of the three pillars of health, and it’s not possible to overemphasize its importance. Stop for a moment and think about how you are going to start respecting your sleep time. Jot down some of the ways you know you can improve your sleep but that you haven’t had the time or energy to do in the past.
Make time for sleep. Block off time in your planner for sleep. 7.5 – 8 hours per night is recommended, but personal sleep needs do differ, so do what’s right for you. You might have to fight the urge to work late at night. In the long run, it will be best for you and your business.
Blue light from screens
Firstly, blue light is a natural part of the light spectrum that is sometimes used to treat illnesses and mental health issues. The problem with blue light from our phones/ tablets/computers / TVs is that it is much more than we would get from natural light, and we are being exposed to it long after sundown. This confuses our body clocks and reduces melatonin (the sleep-regulating hormone) production.
I could tell you not to use any screens after sunset but that would be impossible for most of us. Instead, take small steps, like turning down the brightness on your screens in the evening and use ‘night mode’ on your devices which dials down the blue light on the screen. F.lux is a handy, free software download for your computer which increases the orange tones in your screen at night. There is also blue light blocking glasses that can be worn during the evening, and these are becoming increasingly popular.
Too much time indoors
This is another side effect of modern life. Most of us don’t have any time or any reason to be outside for long periods. But, sunlight is important for regulating our circadian rhythm, which controls our sleep/wake cycles.
Other sleep benefits to outdoors including getting fresh air, incidental exercise and earthing (also known as grounding).
Dare I say it? Go outside! Go for a short walk, play with the kids or eat lunch outside. Exposure to natural light early in the morning is particularly advantageous for sleep health. And, if all else fails (because some days it does), work near a window.
I see so many amazing women who are not only killing it at their jobs but also keeping small humans alive every day. With all the things we need to get done, it’s no wonder we feel stressed at times. Stress is natural and useful, but when the body is stressed it goes into survival mode (known as the fight or flight response). This means an increased heart rate, increased breathing, increased alertness and extra blood flow to major muscle groups. It’s not possible to sleep when you are in this state.
De-stressing is a different process for everyone. Some popular strategies are meditation, breathing techniques, exercise, journaling or just taking a mindful break from your work. Also, make sure you stop work at least an hour before bed and do something enjoyable to wind down.
Lastly, keep the bedroom a tech-free zone. Don’t work in bed, or scroll through Facebook as you are dosing off. These things keep you alert to prevent the mind from switching off.