Sleep eludes me. Well, it does when I am particularly stressed, so I have become somewhat of an expert on the joys of insomnia. For me, it’s not often that I can’t sleep, it’s that I can’t stay asleep, as I am usually woken up with nightmares. A brain in overdrive, manifesting all the things I am secretly angst-ing over.
Working in the corporate world is high pressure and more often than not, comes in waves. One minute you feel you can breathe and a week can go by tickety-boo, and then bam! Presentations, deadlines and stakeholder demands coming out of your ears. For me right now, add in a child starting school, moving house and a sick mother and the first thing to go has been my sleep pattern.
But, life doesn’t stop, even when we need to and sleep is an oh-so-important part of our overall wellbeing. Moreover, it’s almost impossible to perform the way we want to for a big meeting or presentation when we have let our minds stay up all night worrying.
So, while I am not suggesting they are fool-proof, here are my top five tips for getting sleep when you need it most:
- Get to bed at a decent time – decide in advance when that will be. Don’t be tempted to stay up watching TV or scrolling social media. If 9pm is your decided bed time, you should be starting to wind down way before then.
- Winding down. Turn off your tech. I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but I also know it’s the last thing you want to do. It’s so important. Turn off your tech at least one hour before bedtime and pick up a book instead. You have a big meeting tomorrow, you can do it this once.
- Don’t work. Yes you have a big meeting, but don’t sit up until 11 preparing for it. You said 9pm, right? So by 8pm you have put the laptop away, find a way to put the presentation out of your mind. How about a podcast in a dimly lit room, some candles and a bubble bath perhaps?
- My top tip? Yoga before bed. Practicing yoga before you go to bed is an awesome way to release everything you’re holding onto mentally or physically before sinking into a deep sleep. I honestly can’t recommend this enough and it is usually my sure-fire way to get a good nights rest when I need it most. I try to do this a few times a week at least and I find it helps with my nightmares too.
- Lastly, if all else fails, here is some tech for you. This is in no way an ad, but I use the Calm app. I am sure any sleep or meditation app will do, however, a friend once told me they would never get to the end of a Calm app story. Deep sleep before each story had came to an end and while I was sceptical, I have found the same thing. Try it and see. Worst case is a bedtime story recited to you in the dulcet tones of Idris Elba, so let’s face it, it’s money well spent.
Good night, ladies