Sleep has long been an issue. Even before coronavirus 90% of adults said they didn't get enough sleep and in 2018 a survey found that stress and sleep-related issues cost UK businesses £40 billion. 25% adults struggle with insomnia on a Sunday night, clearly demonstrating that concerns about the coming week impact on our ability to sleep well. Treating sleep as important and winding down before bed is a crucial element in getting a good night's sleep.
Some ways for to you wind down before bed;
With so many of us working from home it can be tempting to keep going until the last piece of work is finished or to check in 'just once more'. Certainly during the last few months of the global pandemic boundaries between the different areas of life have become blurred. Work, exercise, home education, leisure have been harder to manage as the way we dress, eat, live our lives has lost its previous familiar routine.
- Some people like to finish work and then burn off the day's adrenalin with a visit to the gym, a jog or some serious exercise. It can be a good way to draw a line under any work-related stress or frustrations and clear the way for a calmer evening.
- Or use the drive home to unwind, maybe listening to music, a podcast or even having a quiet 10 minutes parked up near home to quietly ground yourself, let go of the day's pressures and ensure that you're able to anticipate a pleasant evening ahead.
- Evening is a good time to plan a positive routine with good quality sleep the eventual outcome. Maybe take a relaxing walk, perhaps whilst dinner is cooking, and enjoy exploring the area near where you live. You may find it's a good way to wind down, perhaps with your partner or family and together draw the day to a gentle close.
- Are you lonely? It's true that it's possible to feel lonely in a crowd, especially if others seem active, happy and leading busy, fulfilling lives. Loneliness can get in the way of winding down when you're troubled with feeling alone, unsupported or misunderstood.
- Maybe start by connecting online with friends, groups, people with similar interests and build a supportive network around you. Find one that suits you, where you can chat and become more confident. Be cautious about sharing too much personal information but enjoy the opportunity to dip in and out.
- For those who work from home it's especially important to be vigilant about start and finish times. Emergencies aside, be firm about clocking off and give yourself time to clear your mind of work-related topics.
- Have a set time when you turn your work phone off and put it away or on charge. Unless there's an especially pressing matter educate your staff, clients and colleagues that you're not available 100% of the time. People are often fine about leaving a message once they know you'll pick it up first thing the next day.
-Tune in to positives, your successes and achievements each day. Doing that can deliver a real sense of pride and satisfaction and enable you to relax and wind down feeling good about your day. Tackling some unappetising paperwork, making a few calls, sending out emails can all be viewed as stepping-stones in the right direction. Feel positive about what you've achieved.
- Ensure your bedroom is comfortable and welcoming, a good place to wind down. Avoid clutter, too much technology and keep it as your calm retreat in a busy life. Clean sheets, relaxing colours and fabrics, good ventilation all make for a positive winding down experience after you've closed the bedroom door.
- An evening bath or shower can be a good way to end each day, symbolically cleansing away issues and stresses. Maybe set up an indulgent, prepare-for-bed routine for some, if not every, evening. Scented candles, perhaps a leisurely soak, warm towels can help ease you into a winding down, ready for bed mindset.
- Be disciplined about making a list for the next day. That way things don't need to constantly occupy your mind. You can relax knowing that they're on your list, ready for whenever you're next available to start.
- If you're going through a stressful or difficult time a journal can be an effective way to wind down. Keeping a regular appointment with your journal can help you process your thoughts and find some clarity and understanding.
- Reading is a popular way to wind down, with some people never getting beyond the first page before they fall asleep! Going to bed a little earlier with a good book can be a time you treasure at the end of a busy day.
By making time to wind down each day you're reinforcing the message that sleep should be treated with respect. You're proving that it's an important and valued part of your day. Doing things that support your relaxation, like yoga, meditation, phoning a friend for a chat, maybe going to bed a little earlier, invest in a daily routine, where you're taking care to wind down, be on track, ready to enjoy better health and a good night's sleep.