- Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help you maintain your mental and physical health.
- If you want to sleep better, you need to empty your head of all thoughts, tasks and stresses.
- Creating a to-do list might not only help you to sleep better, but also make you a happier person.
Sleep plays a vital role in our health and wellbeing. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help you maintain your mental and physical health and your quality of life. But when stress becomes too much, your quality of sleep can be affected.
Our health and wellbeing is directly linked to our productivity, which is why some forward thinking businesses are now rethinking their office space to make room for hammocks or sleep pods for staff. Stressed and sleep-deprived employees can’t operate at their peak, which makes the idea of hammocks and sleeping areas in offices not such a crazy idea.
The next time you’re worrying and feeling anxious around bedtime, try one of these simple hacks to relax and quieten your mind enough to fall asleep.
Find a way to relax after a stressful day
Before going to bed, make sure you take some time out to unwind from the stresses of the day. Allow at least half an hour before bed for a quiet, “preparing to sleep” activity such as enjoying a quiet cup of herbal tea, listening to music, reading, an aromatherapy bath with scented oil, or even a relaxation or meditation practice.
Work to clear mental clutter
If you have the events of the day or other issues running through your head before bedtime, start writing them down in a journal for you to revisit later. The simple act of writing down your troubles – and noting how you feel about them in that moment – can help you make sense of the root cause of your problem and free up some space for more important activities like sleeping.
Schedule in some time to worry
If you want to sleep better, you need to empty your head of all thoughts, tasks and stresses. Another way to clear your mental chatter is to schedule in “worry time”. This is a half-hour session that is dedicated to – you guessed it – worrying. This 30-minute window in your day allows you, and even encourages you, to think through the problem.
Another way to clear your mental chatter is to schedule in “worry time”.
By granting yourself some time to focus on the problem at hand, you’re forced to either formulate a solution, or to let it go as much as you can. This is because you have made ample time to explore all options and have decided there’s no way around it. “Worry time” isn’t about making you revisit your problems over and over again, it’s actually designed to be a habit that keeps you moving forward.
Be proactive and create a to-do list
Another active way to clear your head and get to bed is with a master to-do list. Write down “things to do” in a list in your diary so that you don’t need to keep thinking about them over and over.
Did you know that humans are only capable of keeping seven to nine different things in our working memory at once? So, when you try to remember all the errands you need to run, this uses up valuable cognitive energy and can even keep you from sleeping soundly.
But by creating a list you can free up your brainpower to analyse tasks and prioritise, delegate, or even eliminate some of them. It's a win-win.
It’s been proven that a to-do list can make you a happier person too. Even when you don’t manage to cross everything off your list, the act of compiling one can still help you reach your goals, manage your stress levels and help you relax enough to get some well-earned shuteye.
This article is part of an ongoing Balance column, offering tips for juggling work and life while also managing your mental and physical wellbeing. Have something you’d like this column to cover? Email the Acuity team now.
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