The number of hours you sleep is important, but here we tell you how to prepare for a better sleep.
7 min read
The opinions expressed by employees are personal.
We are obsessed with acceleration. How much time does a car need to go from zero to one hundred? How fast can I reach a million followers? How quickly can I finish this project to do more things?
Acceleration is forward movement. It is building the momentum you need to get where you have to go. However, the faster you go, the harder it is to slow down. Stepping on the brake when you go to 150 on the highway can whip you.
The same when you try to rest after a day of chaos. When I was starting with JotForm, I felt that all I did was work and sleep. But going from work to falling asleep was practically impossible. I went round and round for hours until my mind stood still. And not sleeping well made everything harder.
As the company grew to one hundred employees, I learned to rest. I have emphasized to make the most of it at the least possible hours at work. And I have become more aware about the transition between work and rest. Being aware of the first and last hour of my day has made everything in between much easier.
Leave an hour apart before turning off the lights
While we sleep, our body recovers. People who sleep more report being the least stressed and in better health. Sleep affects what you eat, the way you drive, your resilience against disease, and much more. Having slept well leads you to perform better, something athletes know perfectly, but technology leaders often forget.
Work back to decipher the time you have to start your pre-sleep routine. If you need to wake up at 6 am to exercise before a meeting at 9 am, you should be turning off the lights at 10 pm Although sleep needs are different for each person, experts say that almost everyone needs between seven and nine hours, and that anyone who says I could work with six or less has a chronic problem of lack of sleep.
The CDC recommends going to bed and getting up every day at the same time, including weekends. If you tend to wake up late on weekends, chances are you are accumulating sleep debts during the week. Consistency helps your body know when it's time to relax and when it's time to get out of bed.
Set an alarm to wake up in the morning, and one that is one hour before you have to go to bed, so you can start the shutdown process deliberately. If you schedule it, it's easier for you to stick to the schedule. If you are considering falling asleep later to watch another episode on Netflix, remember how good it feels to get up rested.
Read … but not on your phone
We spend much of our day consuming information, whether through news, Twitter or by mail. But that does not mean that what we consume is productive, and it definitely does not help us relax.
Moving our phones away at night is essential to sleep well. Exposure to blue light affects the way our body regulates sleep, including our ability to produce melatonin. Research suggests that even people who adhere to a reasonable sleep routine, using a tablet affects their sense of alert the next day. Experts recommend moving away from the screens two or three hours before bedtime, to reduce their effects on our circadian rhythms.
I turn off my phone after dinner, and I better turn to books. Sometimes I read non-fiction from people who inspire me or from a topic I want to know more about, but reading for pure pleasure also has its benefits.
Reading can help you reduce stress. Reading fiction can specifically make you more empathetic, a “superpower” for leaders.
Although reading on my iPad is very convenient, I prefer to read physical books before bedtime. In addition to staying away from the screens, you remember more things from a physical book than from an ebook . And don't forget to turn it off when you start falling asleep.
Keep a gratitude journal
I have written a lot about the power of reflection and having a diary to clarify your ideas and generate creative ideas. But beyond that, writing the things you appreciate can make you sleep better, as well as being more disease-resistant and much happier. Gratitude is a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes. The practice of gratitude can make you a more kind and appreciative person of life and the people around you. Although a newspaper is somewhat private, people who practice gratitude internally often express it over time, letting their family and friends know their appreciation. Although this does not fix everything, it does improve satisfaction and reduce worries.
Writing in your diary should not take you so long, you can do it for five or ten minutes before bedtime, writing only five things you appreciate. They don't have to be huge or challenging, in fact, it's better if they aren't. Focusing on the small and positive things in your life makes them more present, be it the health of your family or the fresh wind on a summer day.
Incorporating a gratitude diary at the last hour of your day will make it easier for you to fall asleep in a positive environment, which can result in a more restful and peaceful sleep. By creating a ritual of relaxation, your body will respond to the stimuli that you are preparing to sleep. Guided meditation and progressive muscle relaxation are also incredible tools if it is hard for you to calm your mind after a long day.
If you make conscious the way you spend your time at work and at home, then that time becomes more relevant. You can be as present during relaxation as you are during your most productive hours. Rest and recovery are essential for growth, so you will see the benefits of the last hour of your day, the next day.