Did you know that it's Sleep Awareness Week? Sleep is as important as exercise and nutrition in terms of our overall health but it's an area that's often overlooked. From a personal point of view, sleeping well improves our mood, our energy levels and can help us manage stress and depression. From a work perspective, a good nights sleep can spur our creativity, sharpen our focus and increase productivity.
I wrote an article on A Good Night's Sleep some time back and I want to share my sleep routine again today given the week that's in it in the hope that it might get people thinking about their own sleep routines and how important they can be.
I'm not a bad sleeper but I'm not the type of person that can sleep as soon as my head hits the pillow either. My biggest problem is when my mind is racing with ideas or issues that I need to take care of the following day. I'm afraid I don’t have a perfect formula for eliminating this completely from my mind but adhering to the following routine usually helps me more often than not. This is a typical routine for me on a school night:
- I try to leave the bedroom window open during the day (depending on the weather) so the room isn’t stuffy by evening time
- I'll prepare for the morning by leaving my clothes laid out and ready, laptop bag packed, gym gear lined up etc
- I switch off (and stop fidgeting with) all devices such as TV, laptop, phone at least 30 minutes before bed
- I’ll try and read some fiction or an article, anything once it’s not too taxing on the brain and is completely stress free and unrelated to work (don't go through the bills just before bed!)
- Relaxing before going to bed is important so no matter what I've been doing during the day I set aside a short amount of time (minimum 5 minutes) to do absolutely nothing before bed. Some people like to mediate and this is something I would like to introduce to my routine.
- I started using an eye mask (that I got on a plane) recently and I have been having very deep sleeps since I started using it. I'm in complete darkness with the mask and no light changes to the room can effect me until I remove the mask.
- Finally I always give myself enough time in bed to reach my own target of 8 hours sleep per night. For me this usually means going to bed 9 hours before my alarm will go off. I’ve added the slack to allow for 1) the time it takes me to go to sleep and 2) the amount of time my daughter might keep me awake during the night! Even with the slack added I don't always get a full 8 hours sleep but the routine is working for me overall and I haven’t had any issues with tiredness or fatigue as a result of this approach.
How does your routine compare to this? Any suggestions for improvements? Please let me know your thoughts in the comment section below. You can read my original article on sleep here.
Don't underestimate how important it is to prioritise your sleep.
Happy Sleep Awareness Week!