So many of us don’t get enough sleep. In addition to being a productivity issue, lack of sleep can result in injuries too! Fatigue played a role in the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl nuclear disasters as well as the Exxon Valdez oil spill, in addition to countless others.
This year March 14-20 is Sleep Awareness Week according to the National Sleep Foundation. Check out our tips on how to make sleeping soundly a routine instead of something rare. Getting enough sleep isn’t just for kids.
No screens, no light, no problem
Laptops, phones, tablets, even TVs, all emit a wavelength of blue light that prevent the body from recognizing that it’s sleep time. Shut off these screens at least an hour before bed for a good snooze.
Keep your phone out of your bedroom. Not only does this keep the blue light away, you’ll avoid frittering away your productive hours after waking by scrolling through social media or checking your email.
Need something to wake you up? When you get enough sleep, waking on time isn’t such a problem. But if you’re currently dependent on your phone alarm, buy a small alarm clock instead.
When you’re ready for bed, make sure the room is dark. Blackout curtains/ room-darkening shades work well, or try a sleep mask. Or both.
If you’ve got pets, they may or may not be able to sleep with you, depending on how noisy they are! Dogs are usually better companions than cats, which are nocturnal. On the other hand, a noisy dog or a pet that won’t snooze when you do needs their own bed.
Live in a noisy area? Consider a white noise machine, or fan, or something that will create a soothing background to block out other noise.
Get a move on
If you’ve ever had young children or young animals, you know how important it is to wear them out during the day so they’ll sleep! Although adults might not need quite so much activity, the principle works for us too. If you’ve had a long day of physical labor, it’s much easier to fall asleep.
Exercise helps, though that should also end at least an hour before bedtime. For those of us that work at desks all day, it may be more difficult.
Moving around more during the day is a great way to help you sleep at night. A standing desk promotes more movement during the work day.
In addition, try getting up to talk to colleagues down the hall instead of texting, parking away from the store, taking the stairs instead of the elevator. The more movement, the better.
Give your bod a break today
Avoid eating heavy meals too close to bedtime. Your body has to work to digest food, so it can’t prepare for sleep.
At work, use proper ergonomics to avoid straining muscles, cartilage, etc. If your work surface is too low, raise it higher. If the tools you need are too far away, pull them closer. If the material is too heavy, use a team lift or lifting tools.
Meditation or relaxation techniques can help you prepare for sleep as well. Find a way that works for you, because there are many different styles available.
Lowering body temperature is a signal to your body that it’s time to sleep. Warming yourself up gently several hours before bedtime (by taking a bath, for example) allows it to cool off by the time you’re ready for bed.
It’s a habit for humanity
Creating a ritual at bedtime lets your body and mind know they should be prepping for sleep. Read a book (hey, it works for little kids.) Turn the lights down an hour or so before. Journal. Whatever it is, be consistent.
That goes for sleep and wake time as well. Sleeping too long on weekends can disrupt your sleep cycle.
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