In the early morning office chatter there are two guaranteed topics that can be overheard; firstly, of course, the weather, and secondly, the precise amount of sleep that everyone had last night. Or, I should say, the precise amount of sleep that everyone didn’t have last night.
It has become the daily competition to see who tossed and turned the most, who watched the sunrise creeping in before they’d even laid head to pillow. Lack of sleep symbolises busy days, big decisions and better lives.
Somewhere along the way, we’ve got confused. Under-eye circles, calls for more coffee and choruses of yawning shouldn’t be the wounds of a war being won against a boring life but of a battle being lost against burnout, better decision making and -most importantly- being your best selves.
Somehow, we’ve forgotten that a great night’s sleep is the real win. What’s more, we’ve forgotten how to sleep. Between midnight social media scrolling and ‘one-AM-one-last-episode’ episodes, it’s no wonder most of us would make excellent extras on The Walking Dead.
Of course, for parents, the trip to slumber land is a rough enough ride already without ticketless ‘hop-ons’ jumping on their wagon for a whinge.
Enough is enough. It’s time for a plot twist in the office water-cooler show; a good night’s sleep is this season’s storyline. Expect star-packed cameo’s, with insiders guarantying appearances from Extra Energy and Better Moods. And this season’s leading lady? The Best You.
Need some pointers? Here’s our top 5 sleep hacks to get you back in the sleeping saddle.
Let’s get our sleep on.
1. Step Away from the Lattes
We’re not going to lie, this one is going to hurt and you’re not going to like it, but you need to stop with the caffeine after lunchtime. Whether it’s in coffee-form, cans of coke or you’re keeping it old-school and popping caffeine tablets, it’s got to stop. The hyping-yourself-up honeymoon is over.
2. Don’t Skip Leg Day
The key word in the title is ‘day’; if you’re hitting the gym whilst others are hitting the pillow then this may be the reason why you’re struggling for shut-eye. Make sure you’re leaving at least 2 hours between leaving the locker room and laying your head down. Exercise increases your body temperature which makes it harder for your body to fall asleep. Working out is great for the body and mind so don’t swerve the gym altogether but instead, go in the morning or early evening at the latest.
3. Eat Early-Bird Special Style
You never hear grandma and grandpa complaining about their lack of sleep and could be in thanks due to their early-eating habits. Eating triggers your metabolism which makes for a restless night so be sure to leave at least 3 hours between dinner and bedtime. And the same 3-hour rule applies to alcohol, so if you like a glass of wine (or three) in the evening, then aim to finishing ‘boozing’ 3 hours before you’re going ‘snoozing’.
4. Shut Off the Social Media
Social media apps have become the new bedroom-reading and between the screen light and the FOMO factor, it’s the worst replacement possible. Pick a time roughly 2 hours before you want to hit the hay and make that your own self-inflicted sequestration. It doesn’t matter whether it’s all kicking-off in that weird local Facebook group or if Deena’s drunkenly live-streaming, when it’s your set time, switch it off.
5. Black-Out Your Bedroom
Switch off the TV, turn off the fairy lights and embrace the darkness within your soul… sorry, your bedroom. Anyway, yes, it’s time to be big-girls and brave the pitch-black night-time. If there’s even the sneakiest bit of light creeping into your room then your body is going to stop producing melatonin, aka the night-night drug. Shut the curtains, turn off the hall-light and buy some black-out blinds and the wonder that is the human body will soon get you topped up on its own sleeping drug, no prescription required.
These tips aren’t the workings of rocket science but how to have a good night’s sleep has become forgotten knowledge. It isn’t rocket science, but it is science; getting a full night’s sleep will help you to become the best version of you and to succeed in whatever your dreams are. And of course, you need sleep to dream.
Blog Post by: Elcie Burrows - Professional writer. Published by Cosmopolitan, The Guardian, Oxfam, and Bust. Reddit Live & Breaking News.