Let’s face it, Agency life has its fair share of stress, and there is plenty that can consume our thoughts. How do we get enough sleep in order to be productive, motivated and happy?
Let me give you a little background into my current qualification in this subject… I have a toddler.
Now that you know, that I know, that YOU know sleep is precious, let’s dive into it… 😂
We are not alone
It turns out that millions of people face the same problem every day (sleep not toddlers). While some people can get by on just a few hours of sleep, most need at least 7-8 hours to feel rested and refreshed. Unfortunately, our busy lives often make getting the sleep we need challenging to say the least!
Let’s take a look at 5 effective ways to get better sleep. By following these tips, you can improve your sleep quality and quantity*.
*Disclaimer: This is from my own personal experience, has worked for me and you should do what works for you! If you are struggling with sleep to the detriment of your health you should seek urgent medical advice. Consider this post the musings of a middle-aged agency owner 😉
1. Follow a consistent sleep schedule
One of the best things you can do for your sleep is to follow a consistent sleep schedule. It means going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Initially, it may feel challenging but will pay off in the long run.
Why? A consistent sleep schedule helps regulate your body’s natural sleep rhythm and makes it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
To follow a consistent sleep schedule, you must also ensure you wake up at the allotted time… no hitting that snooze button! The best way is to set up the alarm and put it a few feet away from your bed. In this way, you will be forced to leave your bed and turn off the alarm. (Very helpful on dark wintery mornings).
I’ve found that getting up at an early hour, and maintaining a productive schedule leaves me feeling tired and ready for bed when the time comes. I usually fall asleep in minutes!
Initially, you may find it hard, but soon it will become a habit.
2. No caffeine in the evening or afternoon
Caffeine is a stimulant that can have a significant impact on your sleep. While consuming caffeine earlier in the day is fine, sadly… it is best to avoid it late in the day. Apparently, caffeine can stay in your body for even six hours, so consuming it in the afternoon or evening can make it hard to fall asleep at night.
In addition, caffeine can interfere with REM sleep, which is the deepest and most restful stage of sleep. If you regularly consume caffeine late in the day, you may struggle to get a good night’s sleep.
I get it. Coffee is SO good. It’s hard NOT to want some at 4pm to get you through the early evening, but if you can, try a glass of water, or some cordial and hang in there. Maybe go for a brisk walk?
For reference my personal coffee cutoff point is 2pm which is still pretty late!
3. Get plenty of daylight
It is by far my favourite way to improve sleep quality. Getting plenty of light during the day helps regulate the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle or circadian rhythm. (Look I read that so it must be true).
Studies have shown that increased daytime light exposure improves sleep at night. So if you struggle to get a good night’s rest, try spending more time outdoors during the day.
It’s not always so easy in the winter months. The solution I use is a SAD lamp. These lamps simulate sunlight and are a great alternative to sunlight when you need a boost and can’t get outside.
4. Get regular exercise
Exercise is not only great for your physical health, but it can also improve your sleep. Exercise and other physical activities can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation. It can also increase the time you spend in deep sleep, which is the most restful stage of sleep.
A recent study shows that just 30 minutes of moderate exercise three times a week was enough to improve sleep quality in adults.
Time poor or can’t face the gym? It’s pretty achievable to add in a 30-minute walk every other day. This was the solution for me, alongside smart watch to track my steps ensuring I do more than 7000 a day.
Note: excercise too close to bedtime might not be so helpful. I find I am pumped up and wide awake after a workout thus I tend to keep it for the morning or early afternoon.
5. Avoid electronic devices at night
Aaaaand finally. We all know it, we all ignore it, but we should be avoiding our smartphones in bed for sure! Late night usage of devices with screens can result in the blue light affecting our sleeping patterns.
This was the most difficult for me. I used my smartphone in bed for music, plus I’d gotten into the habit of watching a couple of videos before I settled down.
I’ve switched to reading a book, and have replaced my phone with an “old-school” MP3 player for the music. As per point 1, this allows me to leave my smartphone a few feet from the bed in order to avoid temptation and to force me out of bed in the morning when the alarm goes off.
Are you ready for a better sleep? Try following some tips above and see if you notice a difference. Let us know in the comments how you get on!
Got your own tips? Share them in the comments below.
And of course… sweet dreams!