When we talk about improving health, the first things that come to mind are regular exercise and good nutrition. While both are crucial for better health and wellbeing, they will be ineffective without one thing, i.e., sleep.
We all know how important a good night’s sleep is after a hard day of work for recuperating ourselves. When we push ourselves too hard, mentally or physically, we want to hit the sack as soon as possible as we get home.
Sleep is so important that it enables our bodies to rest, recharge, and replenish. If we go without sleep for some days, it will affect our everyday functioning, our physical and mental health, and more. And if we deprive ourselves for too long, we will eventually die.
Yet, the importance of sleep is highly overlooked, and most people rarely get adequate sleep regularly.
The Benefits of Adequate Sleep
In today’s fast-paced world, getting enough sleep may seem like a huge and daunting task for most. It is recommended that the average person should get seven to eight hours of sleep every night.
The benefits of getting sufficient sleep are -
- Reduced stress levels
- Improved brain and body function
- Increased happiness
- Lower risk of health problems and injuries
- Healthy body weight levels
- Better concentration and memory
- Improved focus
However, despite the benefits, getting proper sleep is easier said than done. And especially for corporate employees, who have to get up early and work till late, it is an even more significant challenge.
Also Read - How Sleep Deprivation Affects Work Performance
Did you know that 35.2% of adults in the U.S report sleeping less than seven hours per night? Also, it is reported that 10% to 30% of adults suffer from chronic insomnia.
Causes of poor sleep
The aforementioned stats are testament to the fact that most people have a hard time getting sufficient sleep. But what can be the causes of poor sleep habits? The answer to this question lies in our daily tasks.
Everything from the usage of technology to our food habits can affect our sleep, positively or negatively. Also, there can be both external or internal factors that hinder sleep.
Here are some of the most common factors that affect our sleep -
- Overexposure to blue light at night
- Consuming caffeine
- Usage of laptops and mobile phones before bedtime
- Drinking alcohol
- Smoking tobacco
- Irregular sleep patterns
- Physical pain or discomfort
- Extreme temperatures
The Sleep Challenge: An Effective and Helpful Way
If you find it difficult to sleep correctly or adequately at night, it might affect your work performance. Not only will you not be able to complete your tasks on time, but it will affect your relationships at work as well.
So, what can you do to ensure proper sleep?
I can tell you there is a fun and motivating way to do so from my own experience. Take a sleep challenge, and witness it improve the quality of your sleep and help you meet the recommended daily duration.
The sleep challenge requires you to make some minor changes in your daily routine for a set amount of time with the end objective of improving your sleep quality over time.
You can do it yourself, and once you see the results, you can ask your fellow employees and your boss to join as well.
Before you start the challenge
- Choose a duration for the challenge. 14 days can be good to start, or else you can also go for a 30-day challenge.
- Create a chart where you can keep track of your daily activities during the challenge. There are many sample templates that you can download from the internet.
Things to do during the challenge
- Keep track of your daily sleep time, and the time you get out of bed. You don’t have to be 100% accurate. Just note the timings down when you wake up.
- Try to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time. Doing so will help you realize your body’s natural sleep-wake cycles. At first, you may need to use an alarm clock to wake up, but gradually, you will wake up without one.
- Try to avoid caffeine and other stimulants throughout the day, especially after sunset.
- Reduce alcohol intake and smoking. Too much alcohol and tobacco can disrupt sleep patterns.
- Avoid exercising late in the evening. Instead, work out in the morning or incorporate light exercise throughout the day.
- Pay close attention to your food habits. Avoid caloric-dense sugary treats and instead have nutrient-rich foods. Also, finish your meals 1 hour before bedtime.
- Practice meditation, read a book, take a warm bath, or play a calming instrument 1-2 hours before bedtime.
- Monitor your sleep patterns and daily habits regularly to identify obstacles affecting your sleep. Isolate them and take steps to overcome them accordingly.
Taking part in a sleep challenge can be the critical factor to help you achieve your desired amount of slumber every night. It can help you wake up and fall asleep faster without the need for external devices. Also, monitoring and tracking your sleep patterns will help you realize more about your own body, helping you become healthier and happier.
Just go ahead and try out one for yourself to understand what makes you sleep better.