It’s also our collective delusion that overwork and burnout are the price we must pay in order to succeed.”
– Arianna Huffington, The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time
In recent years people have begun to see the importance of a healthy work life balance, something that I talk about on Desk Life Project a lot. Whether you work in a stressful job or you have started your own business, it’s easy to fall into the sleep deprivation trap where one more meeting or one more email or one more task ticked off the list becomes more important than getting a full 8 hours of rest.
Thankfully, many are beginning to see that killing your body for the sake of a job just isn’t worth it. In fact, studies show that more sleep can actually make us more productive… who knew? According to Sleep.org, sleep deprivation costs American companies $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity. How can that be, you ask? Sleeping more helps you recover from distractions faster, avoid burnout, make better decisions with a clear mind, retain information better and make fewer mistakes. If you’re wondering how you can improve your quality of sleep in order to make yourself more productive during your waking hours, here are some ways to get your slumber in tip-top shape.
Switch off your devices
Or remove them from the room altogether. Having screen-free time for an hour before bed, coupled with having no distractions during the night, can mean you fall asleep faster and without interruptions. Even with your phone on silent, you may find yourself checking it just before you drift off, which tends to disrupt your pre-sleep ritual. Blue light from our screens has also been known to affect our sleep pattern, so switch off before bed for a much better snooze.
Make your bedroom a haven only for sleep
If you work from home or are trying to keep up with a late-night side hustle, it can often be tempting to open your laptop when you’re still in bed (I’m definitely guilty of this!) but the more you do it the more your mind associates your bed as a place where you need to get something done, instead of simply relax and catch some Z’s. Avoid doing anything that energises you or provides mental stress before bed. For an hour before you sleep, choose an activity that will help you drift off (such as reading a book), dim the lights, spritz some lavender pillow mist if that helps, anything to make your bed the most relaxing place on earth.
Getting ready for and into bed is now equally as important as my morning routine. I like to use dim lighting before bed with relaxing music and then once I’m in bed, I sleep in complete darkness and silence. I definitely think it’s important to allow your body to rest, as well as your eyes after staring at screens all day, especially if you’re in e-commerce!”
– Catherine Cornelissen, founder of Decor A List
Get more active during the day
Self-employed people will know that there is no one to enforce movement throughout the day, it’s all down to you, so it can be easy to find yourself sat down all day in front of your laptop, never having moved come 5pm. Schedule in a walk during the day, or some morning yoga, or if you’re really active go a run before you start work. Anything to get you up and moving your body, to help tire you out for bedtime.
Napping is allowed
Nap-ccidents are not ideal, but a scheduled, controlled nap is great. If you can’t sleep through the night or struggle to, schedule in a short nap or two during the day as this can actually be more effective at waking you up and refreshing you than downing a cup of coffee. A quick nap can really boost your productivity for the rest of the day so you can carry on working at your peak performance level.
If you feel you aren’t getting enough sleep, set yourself the challenge of avoiding screens and allowing time for at least 8 hours in bed. Pretty soon, your body will start to catch up, and a productivity boost won’t be far behind. Got a great tip for getting more sleep? Tell us in the comments so that we can share on our social media and help spread the sleep revolution!