Sleep expert Seb Dean offers some handy tips for getting crucial shut-eye when you’re wrangling work and home life.
Sleep is a crucial part of every being’s life for several reasons. Not only does a good night’s rest offer your body a time to reset, but it also gives your mind a break too. Improving and maintaining sleep quality can offer huge benefits to your life and health, especially if you find yourself struggling to balance your night routine, kids and job.
Here are some top tips to help you improve sleep quality whilst taking care of both your children and career.
There are a handful of ways you can improve your sleep, some of which can also help with your day to day health and wellbeing, energy levels and mood. It’s also important to figure out where the sleep issues are coming from. Is it stress and anxiety? Is it the environment you are sleeping in? Or could it be time for a trip to the doctors? Discovering the route of the problem subsequently makes it a lot easier to find solutions.
With the constant school runs, extracurriculars and rush hour traffic, there’s no doubt relaxation time is limited. Having your own space which offers peace of mind is crucial for any busy lifestyle. Not only does this environment help your mind relax, but it can also offer huge benefits for sleep quality and health. Here’s a list of a few things to consider when creating your ideal sleep environment.
One of the most important elements of creating the optimal sleep environment is having a pitch-black room. It’s been proven that sleep quality increases when your room is as dark as it can be. This links back to your Circadian rhythm and so the darker your room, the easier it is for your body to produce melatonin.
Believe it or not, the food you’re eating can have a huge effect on your sleeping abilities and quality. Apart from the obvious caffeine and alcohol, many foods are best to stay clear of when it comes to the evening time. This is a simple step that anyone can take to improve their sleep, including those working 40 hours a week or with 3 children. Foods to remove from your diet or keep for before the evening time include chocolate, protein bars, ice cream and painkillers.
However, during the day you’ll be wanting to consume foods that will give you energy and keep you running. Rather than using energy drinks and the like, we’d recommend that you try porridge in the morning, bananas, beans, lentils and others like this. In doing this, you’ll get a slow release of energy throughout the day rather than a quick burst of energy that leaves you feeling sluggish after a while.
Making and sticking to a nighttime routine that works for you is vital for both getting to sleep and staying asleep. As a father or full-time worker, maintaining a routine might seem near impossible to stick by, but this routine can be simple steps such as setting a bedtime schedule. This also applies to having a routine for your children. Setting yourself a wind-down time is also beneficial. Leave 15 minutes before you attempt to sleep to turn off your devices, pick a book or anything which is easy on the mind.
The trouble with our phones is that they come to bed with us and we’re on them until the moment we go to sleep. The blue light that a screen emits impacts the way in which your body produces melatonin. With blue light, your body produces less melatonin which is the hormone that controls your sleep/wake cycle (Circadian rhythm). So without melatonin, you’re likely to struggle to fall asleep.
One important thing to remember as a family man and employee is the separation of work and home life. Although keeping these apart might be easier for some, the overlap of the two can take a toll on many aspects of your life, one sleeping. Worrying or discussing work before bedtime will immediately keep your brain awake, causing you to overthink, plan for the coming weeks or form stress over the following morning. Remember to leave work, at work and spend time organising your days.
Many found that while they worked from home during the pandemic, they struggled to maintain a work/life balance. But the wind-down from work is a part of your daily routine that sets you up for the evening. If you end up working or thinking about work all evening, you’re already behind your wind-down schedule.
If you find yourself struggling to balance sleep, kids and work, opting for a sleep or rest supplement can help your body and mind get the rest they need. Helping to rewind in the evening, supplements often help to keep your energy levels high during the day and bring things down a notch in the evening time. You might also consider speaking to a professional if your sleeping abilities start to affect your daily health and wellbeing.