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3 Sleeping Tips To Help You Get A Good Night’s Sleep

3 Sleeping Tips To Help You Get A Good Night’s Sleep

One of the common side effects of living in the twenty-first century is not getting enough sleep. Having a busy schedule, juggling work and family obligations, dealing with a health crisis, and/or coping with emotional disorders like depression or anxiety can be stressful and exhausting. Ironically, when you finally turn out the lights and lay your head on the pillow, you struggle to get a  good night’s sleep.

Everyone experiences insomnia or poor sleep at some point in their lives—before a big test or job interview, for instance. Unfortunately, not being able to get good sleep can turn into a regular pattern, with negative consequences for your health and quality of life.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should get 7-9 hours of sleep every night to maintain optimum physical, mental and psychological health; children and teenagers require more than this. Try these anti-insomnia strategies to improve your sleep.

1. Practice good sleep hygiene

Most of us practice personal hygiene (baths or showers, shaving, and clean hair) and dental hygiene (brushing and flossing) on a daily basis, but we are less used to the concept of sleep hygiene—habits that help regulate our sleeping and waking. The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following:

– Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day

Try this for at least a month—even if your schedule is so erratic that it seems impossible. Make your sleep-wake routine a priority.

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– Make your bedroom comfortable and inviting

Your mattress and pillows should feel comfortable. Adjust the temperature, humidity, light and noise levels. For some people, having natural morning light in the room helps maintain a regular waking time.

– Help your mind start winding down

Step away from any emotionally stressful worries or thoughts, and avoid angry or stressful conversations before bedtime. Relaxing yoga exercises can be useful before sleep; save the aerobic exercises for morning or afternoon.

– Avoid stimulants

Most people know that coffee or caffeinated tea will keep you awake, but nicotine is also a stimulant. Alcohol should also be avoided too since it disrupts the body’s natural sleep cycle.

– Eat your last big meal several hours before bedtime

This gives your body time to digest food before you fall asleep.

2. Change your behavior

Good sleep hygiene will help you establish an environment in your bedroom that is most conducive to falling asleep and waking up on a regular schedule. If this is not enough to solve the problem, try these simple behavioral strategies:

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– Only use your bed for sleeping

For many people, the bedroom doubles as an entertainment center. For better sleep, avoid reading, eating, watching TV or using your laptop or iPod while you are in bed. These activities stimulate the brain at a time when you want to relax. This behavior change will help you associate getting into bed with sleeping.

– If you can’t fall asleep, get up for 15 minutes

Tossing and turning and trying to force yourself to sleep can make you anxious and upset—it’s part of the insomniac’s cycle. To help break this cycle, get out of bed and indulge in a relaxing, low-stimulus activity. Read a book. Write in your journal. Close your eyes and do some deep breathing. Stay calm.

– Stop worrying

For some people, turning off the light switch at night turns on their worry switch. Chronic worriers can benefit from cognitive behavior tips. For instance, try scheduling a 20-minute period each day for all your worries. Set a timer if necessary and use those 20 minutes to run through all your worries. Then stop.

Remind yourself that you will be able to run through them again tomorrow. If a persistent worry keeps bothering you, write it down so you can worry about it at the next day’s session.

– Start meditating

You may be having trouble falling asleep because your nervous system is hyper-stimulated. Meditation reduces stress, calms the nervous system and improves sleep quality. There are many kinds of meditation practices, but most utilize a method that refocuses your attention. This focus can be your breathing, a sound or counting sheep.

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One meditative exercise that is helpful for falling asleep is to concentrate on progressively relaxing parts of your body. Lay down comfortably in bed. Starting with your toes, tighten the muscles in your feet; then release. Move up to your calves, then your thighs. As you tighten and release, make sure you breathe deeply and regularly.

3. Use sleep aids

In addition to good sleep hygiene and behavioral changes, you might find the following sleep aids helpful:

– Use a noise machine

The soothing, repetitive sounds of wind blowing or waves moving on a beach help some people relax and fall asleep. Sound generators can also block out distracting background noises like traffic. You can buy noise machines or CDs, or download MP3 selections from the Internet.

– Take herbal teas or supplements

Chamomile, spearmint, valerian, hops and lavender have traditionally been used as sleep aids. There are many teas that use these ingredients. Valerian capsules and melatonin also induce sleep.

Make sure you consult with your physician before adding any supplements to your diet. There are other medications available such as sleeping pills, (but again make sure you speak with your physician before taking them).

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– Have sex

Recent studies show that the hormones released during sex make it easier to fall asleep—so you can add sex to your list of sleep aids.

Getting a good night’s sleep is taken for granted—until you can’t get it. An inadequate amount of sleep has detrimental effects on your mood, health and energy levels. It is possible to get more sleep without using prescription medications.

It may take a while to change your habits and establish a healthier sleep regimen. Be patient and persistent. You will soon start appreciating the benefits of more sleep in all areas of your life.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Nabin Paudyal

Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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