It’s 3:41 am and you’re lying in bed, wide awake, worrying about how you’ll manage to survive the next working day without any sleep. Sound familiar?
With many of us working remotely, the lines between personal and professional are becoming increasingly blurry.
The uncertainty about what will happen and the constant news cycle of mounting deaths and confirmed COVID-19 cases can easily lead to anxiety, which in turn, can wreak havoc with our sleep cycle.
Nobody wants a cranky boss, or a tired employee, right? I’ve put together a few tips and tricks that’ve helped me snooze off over the past few weeks.
Staying home is undoubtedly the best thing we can do to stop the spread of the virus, but it’s important to recognize that the lack of natural daylight can break havoc with our sleeping schedule and throw our body clock out of sync.
If you are able to go outside and exercise (check your government’s guidelines), then try and do so during daylight hours.
When you’re home, keep the curtains open to let some daylight in — and if you’re not allowed outside every day, then open your window and poke your head out for several minutes at a time. It sounds silly, but it will really help break up the day and give your body clock time to adjust.
Divide your time — and your spaces
I know it’s tempting but don’t work from bed, or the sofa. Get showered, and dressed. Don’t stay in your pajamas all day!
It’s important to have an adequate work set-up, and stick to a routine that makes sense for you.
If you don’t, your body will become incredibly confused about work and downtime, making it even harder to know when to sleep.
A good routine will also help you become more productive during the day. I know it sounds preachy, but you’ll thank me later.
Caffeine isn’t your friend
I’m a massive coffee fiend so what I’m about to say is going to hurt: Avoid having too much caffeine.
There’s no way I’m going to tell you to forego your morning coffee — or the heavenly cup of coffee you have after you’re done eating your lunch — but there needs to be a cut-off point.
Avoid caffeine after lunch, or else, risk counting sheep until the early hours.
Exercise — tire yourself
If you can, go for a walk, get some fresh air, and feel the daylight on your face.
If going outside isn’t possible, try and find ways of exercising at home.
And if you can’t bear the thought of working out, then clean. Just be physically active because not only is it good for your physical health, but tiring yourself out a little will help you catch some shut eye.
Tech curfew — put your phone down
Over the years I’ve learned just how important it is to limit screen time before you go to sleep.
Get into bed with your phone and you’ll likely enter into a pattern of mindless scrolling for hours on end — or end up spending way too much time on Twitter, getting wired, instead of sleepy.
If you can, leave your phone charging in another room and if you want to watch TV whilst in bed do so but for a limited time only. Otherwise, you’ll end up starting and finishing Netflix’s Unorthodox in one sitting and find yourself wide awake at 2am. Believe me, I would know.
Reduce stress and anxiety
I’m no sleep expert, but it goes without saying that stress and anxiety are your biggest enemies when it comes to sleeping.
If you’re anxious or stressed, know that there are ways of coping.
Whenever I find myself twisting and turning, I usually resort to the Calm app, play Stephen Fry’s “Blue Gold” or Matthew McConaughey’s “Wonder” and find myself drifting off. Listening to Ludovico Einaudi and Hans Zimmer always helps too.
A hot bath or shower before bed can also help you to relax and unwind — and don’t underestimate the importance of a night-time pamper routine.
I tend to reach for a body moisturizer that triggers a sense of familiarity: So, for example, one that smells like SPF as it reminds me of being on the beach and instantly calms me down.
I’ve also been known to use a pillow spray (lavender is my favorite) and indulge in a face mask or two.
Sleep is important, so do whatever works to help you snooze. You’ll be happier and everyone around you will be grateful.
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