HR & Management
Switch off and get a good night’s sleep
4 min read
16 March 2018
It's World Sleep Day and according to recent reports the average Brit spends more than seven-and-a-half years of their lifetime feeling tired.
When it comes to running a business, things can be pretty hectic – non-stop, in fact. There are 101 things to think about, and in an economy where remote working is making it easier than ever to work away from work, downtime can be compromised.
Downtime isn’t a guilty pleasure; it’s necessary to help recharge and refocus, and without it there can be some serious repercussions on business and health, including stress, anxiety and worse.
Statistics published by the Health and Safety Executive have shown that ill-health due to excessive workload caused the loss of 12.5m working days in 2016/17. Overwork isn’t good for the economy; it’s bad for it.
So making sure you’re properly rested can have a big impact on your work. World Sleep Day is here – hooray! – so it’s time to reassess whether you’re getting enough rest and to ensure you switch off when you should be. The experts at Brighter Business have got some advice.
No more working from home
Work-life balance is hugely important, and you won’t achieve it by bringing unfinished work home or staying late at the office. This will impede your productivity, which is likely to result in lower-quality work.
Instead, try to set boundaries between home and work so that you don’t end up compromising the quality time of either. You shouldn’t let work compromise the time you spend with friends and family.
Similarly, if you’re spending a lot of time at work thinking about personal plans you’re not going to be focussed on doing the best job you can. Trying to strike a balance and finding the middle ground will reap rewards over the long run.
One of the best ways to switch off and sleep peacefully is to eliminate screens from your pre-bed routine. It’s widely accepted that the light from phones, laptops and TVs disrupts the production of melatonin, the hormone which helps to regulate the body’s circadian rhythm.
Similarly, having late-night notifications ringing off can stop you from feeling relaxed, leading to lower-quality rest. These can lead you to feel groggy and slow the next day – and may even cause you to overcompensate by working late to make sure you get all your work done. This has a knock-on effect on your performance over an extended period, and the problem snowballs.
Shun screens before bed. Activities like listening to the radio, reading, or breathing exercises can help you to relax. If you need your phone in the bedroom (for your alarm, for example) try switching it to silent, “Do Not Disturb” or airplane mode to reduce disruption.
It’s hard to be active if your job involves sitting at a desk all day. But exercise has been to be a great stress-buster, releasing endorphins and helping to promote deep sleep.
Trying to fit exercise around your work shouldn’t be difficult; cycling or walking to and from work, going for a run at lunch, or trying some office-friendly workouts are novel ways to work some activity into your day.
Other things – mindfulness practices such as meditation, for example – can help you switch off, not to mention reduce stress and improve focus. Exercising your mind in different ways can help to press the reset button, helping you to feel refreshed.
Conor McArdle is content executive at Brighter Business