Business Development: Getting A Good Night’s Sleep
A guest post by Elaine Crewe ...
Posted by Jacky Sherman on 26/01/2022 @ 8:00AM
Last week, I concluded my blog post with the recommendation to get a good night’s sleep before planning your next steps for your business. It struck me that it was easy to say, but for many people in business, it was hard to do ...
If you'd like to discover more about getting a good night ’s sleep , it may be a great idea to give Elain a call!
copyright: elain crewe / wellbeing4life
So, this week I'm handing over my blog to a sleep expert Elain Crewe of Wellbeing4Life who offers well-researched solutions in a series of easy to follow tips that will get you refreshed every night and ready to tackle those tricky decisions every morning. Take it away Elain.
"Have you ever struggled to sleep?"
Most of us do from time to time. Have you ever gone through a period of weeks or months struggling to sleep? If you have then you know what impact that can have on your life. It steals our energy and zaps our joy, but the impact goes much deeper.
We are in the midst of a sleep deprivation epidemic, according to Dr Rangan Chatterjee. We are getting 1-2 hours less sleep than we were 60 years ago. In the context of the recommended 8-hours of sleep, that's a massive 25% less.
A team of researchers from Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester and Surrey found that today's society is 'supremely arrogant' in believing that they can ignore the importance of sleep. Doing so is leading to 'serious health problems'!
How many times do you sacrifice sleep time in order to get more done? Let's face it, there are only so many hours in the day so it is tempting to go to bed late or get up extra early in order to squeeze more in.
This not only eats into the opportunity for sleep, but impacts our quality of sleep as we are not able to turn off and wind down leading to churning thoughts keeping us wide awake, even though we feel exhausted.
Of course, there are lots of reasons why we don't sleep:
The vast majority of sleep problems are lifestyle-related. The good news about that is that we can do something about it. So, we know a lack of sleep can make us feel rubbish, but what are the other consequences, those that we may not see at first?
Higher levels of anxiety and symptoms of depression
Increased risk of diabetes, breast cancer, heart disease
To name a few.
In addition, research suggests that sleep deprivation costs the UK economy £40billion year. So, how much sleep should we be getting? The answer is not quite as simple as that because it is about quality, not just quantity.
Dr Chatterjee has devised the RATE assessment as a quick and easy way to get a feel for the quality and quantity of our sleep. Try his exercise and rate yourself between 0-2 (0= never, 1= occasionally and 3= almost always) on the following questions:
R – Refreshed: Do you wake up feeling refreshed?
A – Alarm: Do you wake at the same time (within 30 minutes) every day without an alarm?
T – Time Elapsed: Do you fall asleep within 30 minutes?
What does your total score mean? A score of 0 means poor sleep health and a score of 6 is excellent sleep health. Any score less than 6 indicates an area that needs addressing. Check out Dr Chatterjee's Four Pillar Plan to understand more about what your score in each of the specific areas means.
"So, we've already said that if many sleep problems derive from lifestyle there is something we can do about it? Yes!"
Firstly, embrace the darkness which triggers the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Unfortunately, in our modern life, we interfere with that natural process by switching on mobile phones, televisions, laptops and bright lights! Put simply, we receive this as a signal that it is daytime and so melatonin levels reduce. The result is we cannot sleep. Instead, think about dimming lights in the evening and turning off technology 1-2 hours before bed.
Next, embrace the morning light. As darkness triggers the production of melatonin, making us sleepy, lightness triggers the production of cortisol which makes us feel awake. Even on dull, winter days exposing ourselves to daylight helps us to feel alert which keeps us in kilter with our natural circadian rhythm. If left to Mother Nature, we are naturally induced into sleep and triggered into alertness. But it does mean we have to get outdoors! How about taking a lunchtime walk or having your morning cuppa in the garden? If it's cold then wrap up warm and do it anyway. You will be rewarded with more energy and a more productive day. What's that saying? There is no such thing as bad weather just the wrong clothes.
Then create a bedtime routine. They are not only important for babies and toddlers! A regular routine can create external cues to our brain that it is time for bed. We begin to recognise what comes next and know that this means bedtime. What is your regular bedtime routine? Is it a routine that allows you to turn off and relax? Is there anything you are doing that increases cortisol (aka the stress hormone) and could therefore be impacting your sleep? What could a good routine look like? Taking a bath, listening to chilled music, reading?
We all need to reduce tension before bedtime. We have already said that cortisol makes us feel alert so we don't want to do anything that increases tension and our alertness. That might mean choosing not to watch high-tension TV just before bed or to have that 'discussion' (or difference of opinion) with your partner! Again, we can actively support our beautifully designed circadian rhythm by being mindful of our choices.
And finally, caffeine and alcohol. So, we have worked with lots of clients who say, "I drink coffee and it doesn't affect me" or, "I often need a little drink before bed, it helps me sleep". The science says different! Coffee drank at noon will still be in your system between 24-36 hours later, and alcohol is a sedative which means you may think you're sleeping well, but it's not really quality sleep. Try reducing your alcohol overall and reducing caffeine in the afternoon and evening to see if it impacts your sleep quantity and quality.
"If you still find nodding off hard or wake up in the middle of the night with a sense of dread then get in touch!"
At Wellbeing4Life we know that we are all individuals and so for you to find your best strategy to get good quality sleep it will take experimentation. Try some of these strategies with an open mind and also be prepared to give it time.
Thank you Elain.
Until next time ...
Would you like to know more?
If anything written in this blog post resonates with you and you'd like to discover more about getting a good night’s sleep, it may be a great idea to give Elain a call on 07894 659675, have a chat and see how she can help.
More blog posts for you to enjoy ...
Other bloggers you may like to read ...