Strategy & personal development

Simple ways to improve your sleep and be more productive

In the business world, there is a lot of stress and worry occupying our thoughts. With this stress comes poor sleeping habits, which in turn lowers productivity and can affect both physical and mental health.

In order to be productive, motivated, and happy, how do we ensure that we are getting adequate sleep?

When our son was born, I was reminded how important sleep was as I was getting about 4 hours, if that, a night. I quickly hit burnout and had to find ways to get back some of those “Zs”.

This article is the result of two years of experimentation.

To be clear, these tips are based on my own experiences, and you should do what works best for you! This isn’t medical advice, please do your due diligence. If you’re having trouble sleeping to the point where it’s jeopardising your health, you should seek immediate medical and professional advice.

Here goes:

Create a schedule

Maintaining a regular bedtime routine is one of the most helpful things you can do to improve the quality of your sleep. This involves maintaining a consistent bedtime and getting up at the same time each day, including on the weekends. 

At first, it could feel difficult, but in the long term, it will prove to be worthwhile. It helps to maintain the body’s natural sleep rhythm, which in turn makes it simpler to get to sleep and stay asleep throughout the night.

I go to bed at 9pm, I am up for 5am. This also allows an hour in the night for me to comfort our toddler if needed if he wakes up.

Reduce caffeine

When it comes to your sleep, caffeine is a powerful stimulant. While it’s fine to have a cup of coffee in the morning, unfortunately you may want to avoid it at the end of the day. Caffeine can linger in your system for up to six hours, making it difficult to fall asleep at night if consumed in the afternoon or evening.

Caffeine can also disrupt REM sleep, the deepest and most rejuvenating stage of the sleep cycle.

Having some coffee at 4 p.m. to keep you going in the early evening is hard to resist, but if you can, try a glass of water or some cordial and hang in there.

Personally, I find a brisk walk helps wake me up in the late afternoon ready to conquer the evening routine.

Soak in those rays

The body’s normal sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm, is regulated by adequate daylight exposure. (I’m sure it’s real because I read it on the internet).

Increased daytime light exposure has been found in studies to aid nighttime sleep. So, if you’re having trouble sleeping at night, try spending more time outside during the daytime hours.

I found it harder to do so during winter. For me, a SAD lamp was the answer. When you need a boost but don’t have access to natural light, these lamps are a great substitute.

Do a workout or three

Exercise is good for your physical health, but it can also enhance your sleep. Adults can enhance their sleep quality with just 30 minutes of moderate exercise, three times a week.

Additionally, exercise can help to reduce the effects of stress and anxiety, which can often lead to difficulty sleeping.

For me, a 30-minute stroll every other day is an achievable goal. I also use my smartphone to track my steps and aim for a minimum of 7000 a day.

Keep in mind that exercising too close to bedtime may not be beneficial. Exercising can cause an adrenaline rush which can make it difficult to fall asleep. Endorphins are released during exercise and can also cause interference.

Avoid looking at the screens

Avoid using a smartphone in bed. The blue light emitted by screens can suppress the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep. In addition, the stimulation from social media, email, and text messages can make it difficult to wind down before bed and make it harder to switch off.

Personally, I used my phone to listen to music in order to fall asleep, but of course that came with many distractions. I’d find myself mindlessly scrolling, or randomly picking up the phone to check notifications.

I ended up purchasing a cheap MP3 player from Amazon so I could put my phone away from the bed, whilst still enjoying some relaxing music.

Sleep tight

In all honesty, this took time. I still have bad nights. Through trial and error, I’ve slowly learned what affects my ability to wind down and rest. 

You may have a completely different experience so I’ll close by encouraging you to experiment, read up online, listen to your body and be kind to yourself.

Night night, sleep tight, see you in the morning!

Originally posted 2022-06-28 14:44:01.

Lee Jackson
The Business Bulletin

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Lee Jackson

Lee Jackson is an entrepreneur and owner of Agency Trailblazer - a community for web design agency owners looking to grow their business and achieve a better work-life balance. Their content and support is delivered through multiple media channels, courses, events and an online community. Lee is an experienced businessman who doesn't conform to corporate stereotypes. He's known for his ability to make complex ideas easy to understand. He wishes he could communicate in GIFs only! Never without his baseball cap and an accompanying Dad joke, he loves a white wine and a good chinwag. He's the mentor who will challenge you, call it how it is and tell you to get things done.

Simple ways to improve your sleep and be more productive

by Lee Jackson Time to read: 2 min