It’s 9.30 pm, you are staring down the barrel of your laptop…
“just one more email, spreadsheet, to-do list tick”.
The blue light from your device is stealing your sleep by the minute and your state of mind is in a spin of tired and wired. Like a bug flying around in circles allured to the light and just 1 more hour of work until. Tick! Tick! Burn out.
This was my story and I know I’m not alone in blurring the lines between home and work. I began to learn that the true meaning of success in business and life is prioritising your wellbeing and adopting habitual rituals to put you and your day to rest. What you do before hitting the pillow shapes your mood and energy levels for the next morning, bringing you the focus required to crush your day so it doesn’t creep into the night. If you are ready to upgrade your sleep game, AKA your life, settle in.
“Rituals are the formulas by which harmony is restored”
— Terry Tempest Williams
- Offload tomorrow’s to-do list from your mind
Do you know what your brain loves? Routine and Order! The simple task of writing out what needs to be done the next day has been proven to reward you with… falling asleep 9-10 minutes faster. TICK! Reducing anxiety and worries that may be keeping or waking you up during the night. TICK! It makes you more likely to achieve what’s on your list the next day. BIG TICK! When we offload everything in our mind that might be hard to remember otherwise, it gives us some relief from the replay.
- Set the mood and reduce the melatonin-sucking blue light
You know that blue light I was talking about? It’s responsible for the majority of those nights you lie in bed staring at the ceiling. It’s gotta go, along with any work-related tasks and infinite Instagram scrolling at least 1.5 hours before bed. I know, I know! But your mornings will thank you. Additionally, for desktop and laptop computers, the free f.lux app (justgetflux.com) makes the colour of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, reducing your exposure. Your smartphone has a night-shift feature in the display settings. I like to dim the house lighting at night too and sit with the soothing flicker of candlelight to create a calm atmosphere which helps to cue your body clock for rest and winding down.
- A bath or shower 1 hour before bed is nature’s sleeping pill
This has to be the ultimate sleep hack. I know that we don’t all have the luxury of bath time but even a simple 5-minute shower can be effective. After a warm shower or bath, your body temperature will drop. That cooler drop in temperature is a signal to our body that it’s time to sleep. It begins to slow down the heart rate, breathe and digestive system, making us feel relaxed and drowsy. Our bodies also love to be immersed in water, it’s extremely therapeutic and can help you detach from your day. I like to add ‘Deep Sleep Soak’ magnesium minerals from our moresleep.co collection to the bath, for fast and effective sleepiness.
- Inhale the 4-7-8 breathing technique
This is a good one for those extra tough nights when you’re too stressed to meditate but need to calm the f*ck down. The 4-7-8 breathing technique has been described as ‘a natural tranquiliser for the nervous system’. The simple technique mimics some of the de-stressing elements of meditation. It’s quick and can be done in five easy steps.
1: Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound as you breathe out.
2: Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
3: Hold your breath for a count of seven.
4: Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
5: This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
Keeping the breath in for eight seconds will allow oxygen to fill your lungs and then circulate throughout the body. This produces a relaxing effect by slowing down the nervous system and releasing any built up tension from the day. Your mind, which generally can only focus on one thing at a time, will be occupied with your breath — not the stresses of your day.
- Read for at least 6 minutes before bed
Can you believe that six minutes of reading is all it takes to reduce stress levels by up to 68%, inducing a relaxed state of mind? Less stress equals more sleep. You can work on your smarts and read yourself to sleep at the same time. Winning!
- Aromatherapy is what dreams are made of
This ritual has been so powerful for me that I created moresleep.co based on it. I spray the ‘Dream Drops — Pillow Spray’ on my pillow, neck and palms before bed. It’s expertly blended to promote sleep and relaxation by calming the nervous system with a premium concentrated formula proven to induce a natural sedative effect. Aromatherapy can also be used to reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure, and relieve stressful tension that has built up throughout the day. Over time as part of a nighttime ritual the brain begins to associate the Dream Drops aroma with sleep so you drift off more reliably.
If we prioritise sleep the same way we do diet, exercise or business we can live and work at our optimum potential. What do Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Oprah and Richard Branson all have in common? They follow night rituals that prioritise rest and recovery at the end of their day. I’m not going to ague with that. As Ariana Huffington would say…”It’s time to start sleeping your way to the top”.