Can’t Start Your Day Without Caffeine?

Try these 3 things tonight to get a better night’s sleep

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Photo: Heather Emond

Sleep can supercharge our day or drive us to the nearest source of caffeine. If you’ve ever had a bad night’s sleep – or worse no sleep – then you know how debilitating this can be.

Unfortunately, many of us lead very hectic lifestyles and this, combined with our love of technology, keeps us perpetually switched on.

For instance, the use of social media has become so prevalent it’s hard to imagine being in a public space where people are paying attention to their surroundings rather than being fixated on their phones.

The average person now checks their phone about 150 times a day which translates to about 2 hours.

And we often use our phone at inappropriate times; for example, in meetings, while talking to another person and in the bathroom.

And instead of sleeping we stay online expanding our friend network and seeking more post likes, comments and shares.

Photo: William Iven

As we scroll through the news feed our mind is churning over with all the day’s events and what we need to do tomorrow.

In this stressed state, our bodies produce more cortisol, a stress hormone which keeps us active, hijacking our sleep and much-needed recovery.

In the ideal world, we would just switch everything off and take some time out. However, this may not be achievable or realistic right now. So here are 3 things you can do to switch off and get a better night’s sleep…

Photo: Anders Jildén

1. Develop a transition ritual from work to home to wind down

Find somewhere peaceful to do a quick 5-minute mindfulness exercise using an app like Headspace or Smiling Mind. Try doing some exercise – it doesn’t need to be a full gym session – just a 10-minute walk to and from your car or public transport is good. Listening to some relaxing music on your way home can also help.

2. Reduce your exposure to bright light and relax after dinner

After dinner spend some quality time with family and friends. Put away your laptop, phone and other electronic devices 2 hours before going to sleep. This means working smarter not harder. Responding to emails late at night or trying to finish an important piece of work will take much longer and keep your body in a highly active state.

3. In the last 30 minutes prepare your body for sleep

You may like to read a printed book or magazine (nothing work related), take a bath or try some progressive muscle relaxation for 6 minutes / 15 minutes.

Sleeping well after learning enables memory consolidation, a process that strengthens and stabilises memories.

Also from Positive Legacies:

Positive Leadership Practices

Positive Leadership Strategies

Positive Leadership Defined

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