We’ve all heard that before, right? The other night I happy settled into bed BEFORE 10:00 p.m., a rarity for me! I scrolled Facebook and the news for fifteen minutes before setting my phone on the bedside table, rolling over and drifting off to… thirty minutes later I rolled back over to check emails since sleep didn’t seem to be happening. I repeated this process two more times before finally falling asleep.
Guess how I felt when my alarm went off in the morning? I’ll accept any variation on “not stellar.” I got to work about 15 minutes late, I couldn’t drink enough coffee and my ability to focus was noticeably diminished. Remember that episode of “Seinfeld” where George naps under his desk? I seriously considered it.
You may be wondering why a business that optimizes and builds websites is talking about sleep. The answer is simple … Cuppa SEO is a bit obsessed with optimizing EVERYTHING — including the health and happiness of team members and clients. Plus, it’s been proven a sleep-deprived professional is prone to make non-optimal decisions and be less efficient. Now, if we’re talking about making the decision to add a bit more cream to our coffee, it’s not a big deal — but once decision making and productivity slip, there are bigger concerns …
My sleep experiment prompted me to do a little research and the problem is much bigger than just one rough night. I learned that in 2016 the CDC declared insufficient sleep a ‘public health problem’ and a global study by The Rand Corporation found that insufficient sleep results in the equivalent loss of 1.23 million working days annually. After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I began researching the best way to avoid sleepless nights that ultimately mess up my morning and the rest of my day. Here’s three things I learned:
Garbage In, Garbage Out
What you put into your body throughout the day can have a major impact on your sleep quality. The National Sleep Foundation recommends avoiding complex carbohydrates (white bread, pastries, etc,) at bedtime because they may reduce serotonin levels. Switch them out for a handful of nuts! A good source of healthy fat, almonds and walnuts also contain melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate your sleep/wake cycle. Sleep.org also recommends avoiding alcohol at bedtime. It might make you sleepy but quality of your sleep will be diminished.
You Need a Routine
According to sleep.org, you body has an internal clock, also known as your circadian rhythm. Ideally, you should be going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Ultimately, this consistency will result in better sleep quality. It’s also important to introduce an evening ritual that signals to your body that it’s time to get ready for a good night’s sleep.
Get Up if Sleep Isn’t Happening
My mistake here? Checking the clock, also known as my phone, and stressing that I was still awake. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Sleep.org actually recommends turning the clock away from you so you can’t see the numbers. In my case, the phone will be placed face down on the bedside table. The site also recommends that you get up and do something peaceful until you feel sleepy if you’ve been in bed for about 20 minutes if sleep hasn’t come.
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to try to develop a consistent bedtime routine. I’ll also be more mindful of what I’m putting in my body close to bedtime and start getting up when I can’t sleep. I’ll let you know how it goes!
Want more tips and insights from Cuppa SEO?