Sleep – are you getting any?

There’s always a balancing act happening in life and business… and one of those balances is how much sleep we’re getting.

We all know the benefits of getting enough shut eye; it improves focus and our mood – not enough sleep can impact our lives in so many ways. As a business owner I’ve learned a thing or two about how to increase the amount and quality of sleep I’m getting to improve clarity in business and day to day life. I’m by no means an expert, but it’s an important aspect of my life which I’ve learned to prioritise.

Learn to relax
This might seem really obvious, and you’d be right! I used to suffer horribly from anxiety and I remember my sleep was disrupted due to being too wound up. Those days when you’re working to a deadline (most days I should imagine!) and you get to the end of the day you just can’t switch off… I totally get it.

One of the tools I use to relax at night is meditation or hypnosis recordings. There’s a massive wealth of tools, both free and paid for, to learn how to get that peaceful feeling we all crave. My favourite YouTube video is currently by The Honest Guys and is a deep relaxation recording – listen to it before bed or even during your lunch break.

If you’re on the go, an app called Headspace is an excellent resource; download it and take part in their free 10 day challenge. It’s a simple meditation app with prompts to give you a nudge to remind you to meditate. In January they’ve got an offer on for membership too, if you fancy doing more. (Not an ad!)

Headspace – a meditation app

Another relaxation tip is to take up yoga. It’s accessible for all fitness levels and really does teach you how to get in tune with your body and mind to chill out. I go to Bridge in Wigton but there’s lots of other places available to take part – you can even do classes online with Yoga with Adriene who I love!

Yoga can help you chill before bed

“People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills, when it is possible for you to retreat into yourself any time you want. There”
Arianna Huffington, The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time

This leads on from the last point as exercise releases endorphins and gives you that ‘feel good’ feeling! This is important as you will feel much more relaxed and able to drift off. A word of warning though; don’t exercise too closely to bed time as you might find it makes you feel much more awake! I’m currently love PiYo which is a mix of Pilates, Yoga and body weight exercise – it really works your muscles to give you that overall feeling of bliss!

Caffeine – avoid it
This is a massive bug bear for me as I LOVE tea… but seriously, avoiding caffeine a few hours before bed should help you to feel more relaxed. One of my favourite drinks before bed is Pukka Night Time Tea – it’s got oat flower, lavender and lime-flower in it to assist that sleepy feeling. I love the taste but I wouldn’t say it’s for everyone – worth a try if you’re feeling particularly buzzed. Also, chamomile tea is a natural relaxant.

Coffee has its uses, but not before bed

No tech at bedtime
As business people, we’re always ‘on’. Or at least, it feels like we are! According to a comScore report, the average person spends around 4 hours a day on their smartphone – scary stuff! This in itself isn’t a massive issue but using your smartphone before bed can cause sleep disruption and inhibit your ability to fall asleep. Blue light emitted from our laptops and phones can inhibit the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone which tells us it’s night time. A study has shown if you don’t use a phone etc for just an hour before bed, it can help us fall asleep faster and have better quality sleep.

This is easier said than done though, right?! One tip I picked up on recently was using a blue light filter on my phone. If I couldn’t avoid using my phone for whatever reason before bed, I installed a filter (available in your app store) which allegedly reduces the blue light. It seemed to help me so give it a try!

Create a restful sleep environment
Painting your bedroom in some soothing colours can really help to catch some zzzz… Soft lavender and blues have been shown to induce sleep; in fact a survey by Travelodge found blues to be the number one sleep colour. Fluffy pillows and a good mattress can also help and a clutter free environment will allow you to drift off more easily.

So this is only a small list; feel free to email me with your own suggestions or leave me a comment. Hope this has helped in some way to get you some better sleep.

Sweet dreams, Rebecca x