6 ways to encourage healthy sleep habits
Article3 min24 April 2018
Psychological wellbeing isn’t just about practicing mindfulness and meditation. Getting good sleep is vital for productivity within organisations.
Are you tired but wired? Are you truly exhausted but when your head hits the pillow but you can’t sleep? Does it take you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep? Do you have day time symptoms of fatigue, irritability or low energy?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone. The National Sleep Foundation reports that 30% of the global population is affected by insomnia.
The good news is unhealthy sleep habits can be reversed and your bedroom can be a cue for sleep, and not a curse.
“If you do nothing else, start with one daily task to make a change in your sleep routine.”
6 tips for good sleep
Here’s some tips, backed by psychologists and neuroscientists, to get you started on a good night’s sleep.
1. Establish a bedtime routine
Start your night time routine about one hour before going to bed. This can involve brushing your teeth, having a shower, meditating or reading a book. Avoid digital devices one hour before bed as they stop melatonin our natural hormone that helps you sleep being produced.
2. Try meditating before sleep
Meditation has the ability to shift gears in our brain waves. We tend to operate all day in a chronic beta brain wave of high stress. When you meditate, it drops your level of brain frequency to a Theta brain wave state, a state of relaxation and dream-like imagery which more closely resembles the state of sleep. This makes the transition to sleep easier as you drift into Delta brain wave or deep sleep. Try meditating for 10 minutes before bed and see if your sleep improves.
Try a 10 minute guided sleep meditation
3. Only use your bed for sleep
It’s really important that you don’t use your bed for work, serious conversations, watching TV, eating or talking on the phone. You want your bed to be associated with sleep, so it’s important your brain starts making this connection.
4. Park your worries
If you wake up at 2am, you are not alone. It’s a beautiful time to wake up, think, plan, schedule and stay in a thought pattern that we can’t seem to break. Over a 24-hour period, this is when we have the lowest amounts of serotonin and dopamine. If you’re finding it difficult to switch off, turn on a warm light and write a ‘worry list’. Once you have written down everything, say out loud “I will address this at 7am”. Since it’s out of your hippocampus, or your memory centre, and onto paper, you won’t forget it. Then try a sleep guided meditation to drift back into sleep.
5. Create the right environment
A dark, quiet and cooler temperature will help with creating the right environment for you to sleep. If you live in the city, consider turning on white noise, so it eliminates the sound outside, buy block out curtains, or sleep with an eye mask on so the room is dark. You could also invest in a chilly pad for your bed which will keep your body temperature at the optimal level for sleeping.
6. Make the commitment
If you do nothing else, start with one daily task to make a change in your sleep routine. It’s as easy as starting the evening with a commitment to switch off your devices one hour before bed time. Then set the alarm to a regular wake up time.
When we are well rested we become less reactive, more productive and ultimately have a happier life. With these simple commitments, you could be well on your way to getting the best sleep you’ve ever had.
Chelsea Pottenger is a director at EQ Consulting co. Their mission is getting the best out of your people and to drive productivity. If you want to learn more about sleep, the ‘Chasing Calm’ course helps people learn tools associated with getting good sleep.