Sleeping poorly for extended periods of time will have terrible consequences for your health, both physical and mental. Nor is dragging yourself into work on Wednesday, with a cumulative 7 hours of sleep since Monday, and trembling by the coffee machine with your aching, tired bones, the best thing for your productivity.
The source of the issue
Before you can start curing your sleep troubles, take a look at your lifestyle first. How active are you? How much time do you spend in front of a screen? How much caffeine and sugar do you consume? How long do you actually spend winding down at the end of the day? How much water do you drink on a daily basis?
Unfortunately, many of our lifestyles do not support the optimization of these necessary actions. If you work in an office, chances are you spend at least 8 hours a day in front of a screen, drink a lot of coffee, are sedentary a lot of the time, and don’t have a whole lot of time to yourself in the evening.
It is not anything new that the modern office working structure is bad for our health. Steps are being taken in many companies to try and help workers’ find a balance, such as co-working spaces, flexible hours, and in-house breakout rooms. Thankfully, we are beginning to see a shift away from the idea of work being a punishing place to be.
What can you do?
If you are burning out at work and unable to sleep at night, there are some things you can do to move towards a set of healthier habits.
Designate at least 30 mins of no-screen time in the evenings
While you are preparing to go to bed, try not to look at your phone or scroll through Facebook. Emails can wait until the morning. It is important you do not bombard your brain at this sort of time, so you can properly switch off.
Get 20 minutes of exercise per day
Even if you have no time, it is important you get moving 20 minutes per day. Raising your heart-rate for 20 minutes will help you metabolize much more efficiently, as well as prepare your body for deeper and more effective sleep.
Do not drink coffee in the afternoon
If you’ve ever heard someone say they only do decaf after 2pm, maybe it is time you join their camp. Drinking caffeinated coffee after lunch will keep you awake for longer. Even if it does not, it is still affecting the quality of sleep you get, meaning you will be more tired in the morning.
You can take melatonin in the evenings to start regulating your sleep cycles and start fixing your circadian rhythms. However, this should not be used as a substitute for the above lifestyle changes, just to supplement them.