In the humdrum that is everyday life, it’s completely understandable that work can take over. Unsurprisingly, obsessing over emails, meetings and impossible-to-reach deadlines can have a detrimental effect on your sleep. But if your 9-5 has become more of a 24/7 your sleep does not have to suffer. There are certain measures you can take to help you relax and achieve 8 hours of sleep to get you ready for the next day. Here are our top 5 tips to improve your sleep routine if you’re a workaholic.
1. Stop checking emails!
This is easier said than done, especially when you’ve got a boss that also brings work home. However, last-minute email checking will send your mind racing just before bed and prevent you from getting in a relaxed and sleepy state. On top of this, your phone and laptop emit blue light. This artificial light inhibits the production of melatonin which is also known as the sleep hormone.
Our insomnia expert Kathryn Pinkham adds: ‘We need melatonin to drop off at night so too much screen time before bed can interfere and tell our body and mind it’s daytime, making it hard to drop off.’
Read more: Insomnia and How to Beat It
It’s best to avoid devices such as mobile phones or smart tablets for 1-2 hours before hitting the sheets. Instead, read a book or spend some time with your family, anything to distract yourself from work before you sleep.
2. Wind down
While you’re trying to avoid the blue light from your phone, computer or even television, it can be difficult to think of ways to wind down that don’t involve work. This is where meditation or yoga comes in handy. Meditation consists of easy poses and breathing techniques which aid relaxation. Such controlled breathing stimulates the vagus nerve. This in turn decreases anxiety and increases feelings of calm which are essential if you’re a workaholic.
If yoga is more your thing, there are certain poses which help relieve stress and even ease headaches. For example, the Standing Forward Bend, which involves simply standing and then folding your torso so your hands are flat on the floor. Such poses should be practiced for roughly a minute before bed for a full sleepy effect.
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3. Avoid the coffee
As a workaholic, coffee will no doubt be an essential thing to get you through the day. However, there should be a cut-off point to help you sleep through the night. You probably already know that caffeine can prohibit a good snooze by making you feel alert and jittery, which is the last thing you’ll want before a big day tomorrow. If your desired bedtime is roughly 11pm, have your last cuppa before 5. This is because once in the body, only one half of your caffeine intake is eliminated after 6 hours.
Alcohol can also be detrimental to your sleep and reduces REM sleep, which is the stage of sleep involved with deep dreaming. If you fancy a glass of wine after work, aim to have it during dinner.
4. Make a to-do list
A to-do list helps you to unload your mind before filling it with dreams. Take 5 minutes before bed to quickly jot down anything on your mind to concern yourself with the next day. Speaking to Business Insider, international business speaker Michael Kerr says:
‘Clearing the mind for a good night sleep is critical for a lot of successful people. Often they will take this time to write down a list of any unattended items to address the following day, so these thoughts don’t end up invading their head space during the night.’
While you’re in your notebook, it can also be helpful to reflect on the positive things that happened that day and jot down things you feel grateful for. This can help improve your confidence and optimism, while going to bed in a feel-good mood.
5. Stick to a routine
Last but not least on our list of tips to improve your sleep, is to stick to your routine. It’s so easy to fall back into old habits and lie awake in bed checking emails or have a brew into the late hours. But sticking to the above tips will help you easily drift off and feel refreshed the next day. If you stick to a time to go to bed every night and a time to wake up every morning, your body clock will soon adjust and you may even wake up naturally.
We hope this helps you improve your sleep routine! Do you have any other tips to sleep as a workaholic? Let us know in the comments!