It’s amazing to think that when we were children, most of us despised nap time because we’d rather be playing. Now, few things sound better than a good nap! Since graduating from college and starting work in the “real world,” I have come to truly appreciate the value of a good night’s sleep and how crucial being well-rested can be for your productivity at work. Sleep deprivation can affect your mood, productivity, quality of work and fine motor skills – just to name a few! So, in case you are anything like me and have periods of poor sleep, here are a few of the sleep tips that have worked best for me:
- Bedtime – Yeah, it’s not just for the kids. Going to sleep around the same time every night can help you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go the next morning. But don’t think you’re off the hook on weekends! Drastically disrupting your sleep schedule during the weekend will almost always show on Monday – and no one wants Mondays to be any worse than they already are!
- If you must nap, do so with caution – Although taking a power nap might feel good now, napping can actually make some people’s insomnia worse. If you absolutely cannot make it through a rough day without napping, try taking a nap in the early afternoon for no more than 30 minutes. By napping quickly and further away from your bedtime, you’ll be more prepared for a long night of sleep.
- Turn off the lights – Some people have told me that they can’t get to sleep at night without a little background noise from the television or reading a quick chapter on their tablet. On the contrary, the light from your television or tablet can have a significant impact on your melatonin production (the stuff that helps you sleep) and can keep you from getting to sleep and staying asleep. Make sure your bedroom is completely dark before trying to sleep. If you’re still bothered by lights outside, get a sleep mask. Trust me, they may feel funny the first couple of nights, but after you get used to wearing one, you will sleep SO much better!
- Put the phone away – Having your phone next to you while you’re trying to sleep may keep your mind racing with thoughts of who you were emailing, waiting for a text, etc. I know some people like to use their phones for alarm clocks, but if you keep your phone on the other end of the room and use an old-fashioned alarm clock instead, I would be surprised if you didn’t see immediate results like I did!
- Exercise – Not only can exercise affect your physical appearance and mood, it can also have a huge effect on your sleep! Regular exercise, even simple things like yoga or Pilates, can help promote good sleep. Just be careful not to exercise too close to bedtime! This can result in raising your body temperature and keeping you awake longer.