Sleep, rest and relaxation are essential to keep us at our best
When we are under pressure, stressed worried, being able to rest, relax, and to sleep well becomes more difficult. These ideas provide ways to prevent this, helping you to be at your best, every day.
To feel well rested, you need to know how much sleep you need
How much sleep we need to function at our best is unique to each person. Knowing this, and scheduling in the right amount, is key when working out your ideal sleep routine.
If you miss just one hour of sleep every night this means you miss the equivalent of an entire night’s sleep each week. This can affect your physical and mental health and your immune system.
Good sleep habits
- Keep a consistent routine for bedtime and, especially, wake time
- Stick to regular exercise routines where you can; exercise helps with both your physical and mental health, and sleep.
- Eat regular, healthy meals, and stay hydrated
- Use your preferred relaxation strategies, particularly in the last hour before bedtime.
- Restrict your use of electronic screen devices in the hour before sleeping.
- Limit alcohol close to bedtime as it can affect sleep quality
- A hot bath or shower just before bedtime can help encourage sleep onset
- Make your bedroom as quiet, dark and comfortable as possible
Mindfulness and relaxation
Strategies and techniques to help relax and unwind are essential to offload daytime stresses and we have already shared apps that can help with this
Headspace - To support stress, anxiety and sleep through a range of tools including guided mediation
3 Minute Mindfulness
Sleepio - To support better quality sleep; getting to sleep or staying asleep
Also try not to engage in pandemic-related media during your down-time. We may not be able to stop our minds from churning over information, but at least we won’t be adding to the overload.
Anxiety UK suggests practicing the ‘Apple’ technique to deal with anxiety and worries.
Acknowledge: Notice and acknowledge the uncertainty as it comes to mind
Pause: Don’t react as you normally do. Don’t react at all. Pause and breathe
Pull back: tell yourself this is just the worry talking, and this apparent need for certainty is not helpful and not necessary. It is only a thought or feeling. Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are not statements of facts.
Let go: let go of the thought or feeling. It will pass. You don’t have to respond to them. You might imagine them floating away in a bubble or cloud.
Explore: Explore the present moment, because right now, in this moment, all is well. Notice your breathing and the sensations of your breathing. Notice the ground beneath you. Look around and notice what you see, what you hear, what you touch, what you can smell. Right now. Then shift your focus of attention to something else – on what you need to do, on what you were doing before you noticed the worry, or do something else – mindfully with your full attention.