Ah sleep – an opportunity to relax, recharge and refresh, and to forget any troubles and drift happily away in a sleepy slumber…
Sleeping is great. Research indicates that sleep boosts our immunity, supports in maintaining a healthy weight, prevents diabetes and also wards off heart disease. Sleep is also fantastic in improving our wellbeing too; it can improve our mood, reduce the potential for anxiety and in turn help us to be more positive, productive and peaceful.
The importance of sleep is boundless, and therefore it’s surprising to hear that in a recent study by Horizons Workforce Consulting, only 40% of working adults get enough sleep to awaken refreshed for the day ahead.
We all do have the occasional late night and limited sleep. We might find ourselves watching ‘just one more episode’ of our favourite Netflix show, or catching up on a few last minute emails. In the case of more and more families and employees, we might also find ourselves caring for a dependant in the evening too or looking after our little ones who are often early risers.
Our challenges, however, lie when the ‘occasional’ becomes the ‘norm’, and a regular lack of sleep can have a significant impact on our wellbeing, especially when we’re trying to balance our family and personal lives with work.
In the short term, this can often leave us feeling short-tempered, reaching for chocolate (in the hope of revival) and struggling to concentrate. In the long term, it can also have an impact on our quality, performance and productivity at home and work – leaving us feeling tired and burned out.
In a world which is constantly changing, with new challenges every day, increasing pressures and the demands of a busy life, sleep is an important factor and major source of resilience.
Resilience is that ineffable quality which enables certain people to adapt to stressful situations and bounce back stronger than ever. Rather than letting failure overcome them, resilient individuals can adjust, rise from the ashes and quickly recover.
The reality is we all face stress at certain times in both our personal and professional lives, and it’s important to understand that this is completely normal. In fact, a small amount of pressure is healthy, as it helps us strive for excellence, create goals and objectives, and reach our potential as individuals and teams.
Sleeping and resilience work hand-in-hand. With additional hours in the land of nod, our wellbeing increases – enabling us to be healthier, more committed, engaged and productive. Resilience also impacts all other aspects of our wellbeing too – from job satisfaction and financial matters, to health and wellness. And this extends beyond ourselves to our communities too.
So what are we waiting for? If we can understand the ‘why’, we can work out the ‘how’.
I think it’s time to switch off the light and dive right into our pillowy heaven.
Dreaming of a good night’s sleep?
While there may be a few factors outside of our control, there are a few things you can do to help get a great night’s sleep, including:
- Relaxing. Winding down before bed is a critical stage and there are many ways this can be achieved. Try taking a warm bath, writing a to-do list for the next day to organise your thoughts, reading a book or listening to the radio or CD, or enjoying light relaxation exercises (such as yoga stretches).
- Avoiding TV and bright screens. Creating a relaxing environment is important when preparing to sleep and there are certain gadgets that can affect our sleep, such as lights, noise, TV and other electronic devices. To create a haven of relaxation, your bedroom should be dark, quiet, tidy and an ambient temperature.
In addition to a great night’s sleep, there are a few simple techniques you can try to quickly and easily transform your thoughts and build your resilience.
Each day, write down three positive experiences and a strength you have used, particularly in a different context from where you would expect to use it.
Try to practice this for 21 days, which will strengthen and train your mind’s positive circuit. Apply this to your working day and you will notice the impact on your performance and how you manage day-to-day stress.
We all worry – whether it’s an upcoming meeting at work, receiving feedback or worrying about something at home. If you find yourself worrying, ask yourself ‘can I control or change this fear’? If the answer is no, try to drop the worry from your mind and focus your attention elsewhere. If the answer is yes, look for ways you can improve the outcome, such as additional planning.