5 tips for the best sleep of your life
You know the feeling. You toss and turn and periodically look at the clock. Your mind is racing, thinking about the challenging conversation you had earlier in the day with a client as well as all of the tasks you have to get done in the morning. You are stressed. Because of this, you are having difficulty falling asleep. The next day when you arrive at the office, you are lethargic, irritable and definitely not your best self. Research indicates that sleep deprivation negatively impacts work productivity. Can this sleepless night routine be prevented? With these simple tips, you bet it can.
Embrace the white noise. Sometimes the key to falling asleep is controlled sound. Drown out sirens, snoring and cicadas with the sounds of falling rain, waves crashing on the shore or the hum of pure white noise.
Turn on a relaxing soundtrack. Another technique to help you get prepped for bedtime is to set the scene. Try listening to soothing music — tunes with no words, just peaceful sounds. YouTube has a plethora of options available. I often select a track that is 30 minutes or an hour long, so that it shuts off once I fall asleep. This saves my phone or laptop battery.
Practice meditation. One way to steer the mind away from overthinking is to focus on something intently, such as breathing. Some swear by the 4-7-8 breathing method where you breathe in for four seconds, hold the breath for seven seconds and breathe out for eight seconds and repeat this cycle until you fall asleep. You can also find guided meditations on YouTube. I recommend these. Another option is to download a meditation app on your phone. I recently downloaded The Breathing App (available in iOS and Android). I also use Headspace.
Reduce screen time before bed. I know that many people fall asleep by watching television, however, if you have difficulty falling asleep, you may want to reconsider this ritual. Studies have found that exposure to light before bedtime hinders the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin from releasing into the body. Many smartphones have a night mode setting that removes the blue wavelengths that throw off the body’s circadian rhythm during the evening hours. Consider changing your phone’s settings.
Decide on an evening elixir. What will you add to your nightly routine? Maybe it’s chamomile tea or a warm cup of milk. Both contain sleep inducing qualities. Or maybe you use a body lotion or pillow mist with essential oils such as lavender or bergamot.
After a busy day it is important to take steps to unwind and create a tranquil environment. Put stresses and worries to the side and allow yourself the rest your body needs. Sweet dreams!
Alexis Rothberg, Communications Manager, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants
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