Other than being at work when you feel sick or hungover, there are few things worse than going to work exhausted. You can’t focus, your performance suffers, and whether you’re motivated or not, you’ll likely become a clock-watcher, at least for the day. Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial to performing your best at work. Here are a few ways to make sure you’re well-rested tomorrow.
1. Unplug at least an hour before bed. No screens before sleep! The light your tablet, cellphone, or laptop can emit can disrupt your natural circadian rhythms because it’s bright when it should be dark.
2. Keep your cool. Most people benefit from keeping their bedroom cooler than the rest of the house — think 65°F or below. Feel chilly? Cozy up in an extra blanket. You’ll sleep better and longer.
3. Don’t nap. This is painful, because, well, napping is a big hobby of mine, but it can hinder your ability to fall asleep at night. Tough it out as long as you can. If you’re really wiped out and need some extra shut-eye immediately, cap your nap at just 20 minutes.
4. Get your sweat on. Working out can help you sleep better at night. Just be sure not to work out immediately before bed, or else you may wake yourself up more.
5. Rinse off the day. A good step between your workout and your 40 winks? A hot bath or shower. You should, of course, shower after working out regardless, but a relaxing shower or bath before bedtime (whether or not you just hit the gym) can help you fall asleep faster.
6. Get the right pillow. I had pain in the area between my neck and shoulder blade for weeks. I thought it was from carrying a too-heavy purse, so I stopped doing that. It didn’t help. I thought it was from boxing, so I checked my form with my instructors and even took a break. That didn’t help either. It wasn’t until I started using a new pillow that I felt better. Your best bet? A Mediflow pillow, which you can adjust and fill to your desired firmness so you’re not up all night fluffing and adjusting it. Seriously, it’s a game changer.
7. No junk food or booze at bedtime. Sure, a vat of mac and cheese and a beer may make you sleepy, but they can disrupt your actual sleep with indigestion, gas, and worse.
8. Keep your schedule consistent. Waking up and going to bed at roughly the same time every day will make it easier to fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning.