Work from home (WFH) means more screen time for many. This can negatively impact our sleep. Sleep deprivation makes us more impatient and antagonistic and we more than likely pass this on to our colleagues. We offer ways to get a better sleep.
Are you having trouble sleeping lately? Feeling a bit more at wits end? Sheltering in place has likely propelled your screen time into the stratosphere. The more time spent blasting your eyeballs with blue light, the nasty type of light emitted by smartphones, computers and TVs, the greater the chances of you being hit with headaches, insomnia and irritability. If you’re constantly scrolling Twitter newsfeed horrors, working on your laptop and cruising through 8 consecutive hours of Netflix, then blue light may very well be to blame for your tossing and turning…and your bad mood. Good news though, there are some quick and easy solutions.
We Already Had a Problem…
Prior to COVID-19 we were already in a sleep crisis. Experts say that we need a solid eight hours, yet few of us were getting that. A significant percentage of people, and senior leaders in particular, already didn’t seem to be getting the sleep they needed. Insufficient sleep and fatigue lead to poor judgment, lack of self-control, and impaired creativity. Research shows that getting lousy sleeps doesn’t just impact your performance but those of your employees too. With everyone working from home and scrambling to take care of family and basic needs they’re already stretched…and having a short-tempered colleague or boss just adds to their stress.
How to Up Your Sleep Game
- No computer, video games, cel phone or tablet before bed. Begin by starting with none of these offenders 30 minutes prior to bed. Gradually increase this time period to an hour. Think how much fun you’ll have getting reacquainted with books and magazines again!
- Stick to a consistent bedtime and wake-up schedule. Studies show that the more irregular one’s sleep patterns are, the higher the risk for obesity, hypertension, elevated blood sugar and increased risk for heart disease. On the flip side, keeping bed and wake-up times as consistent as possible has positive impacts on your health.
- Avoid these substances:
- Caffeine within 7 hours of bedtime
- Alcohol within 3 hours of bedtime
- Nicotine within 3-4 hours (actually, just avoid this one altogether…)
- Get some exercise. But not before bed. Exercise contributes to a more sound and restful sleep.
- Nap. This is one of the most overlooked tools for getting more rest. Research shows that dozing for just 20 minutes a day can lead to improved noggin functions of all sorts: faster cognitive processing, decreased errors, increased stamina and improved focus. Pretty impressive payoffs for such small intervention, right?
- Meditation/relaxation exercises. Both of these types of strategies help lower anxiety, making it much easier to drift off to sleep. Learning to meditate is easy and the option you might want to eventually learn. There are also a number of great free apps out there to help you drift off into sheep counting territory. In the few moments it takes to start these on your smartphone, just make sure that you don’t get sucked back into the attention sucking vortex of it’s screen.
By making your sleep a priority and adjusting your habits accordingly, you’ll probably be a more productive – and inspiring – leader. And who couldn’t benefit from a little more inspiration right now?