Burnout is a medical condition that an increasing number of people are experiencing today due to overworking and over socialising; the two combined lead to burnout which can trigger mental and physical issues. Burnout and stress can often affect how we sleep, too and can mean it takes longer for us to fall asleep, leading to disrupted night’s sleep or even a complete lack of sleep.
In this guide, Dr Giuseppe Aragona, GP and online doctor for OnlinePrescriptionDoctor, reveals his tips for winding down to allow for a good night’s sleep.
1. Limit screen time
It’s no surprise at all that using screens before bedtime can leave our mind feeling wired; this is because the amount of information it is processing right before bed is huge. Using apps like social media before bed can leave us feeling more awake than before. Not only this, but the blue light emitted from screens can also leave us feeling awake and wired, this is because artificial blue light can boost alertness and mental sharpness, but of course, this right before bed means you may have trouble sleeping or getting to sleep.
I would advise you to leave all screens outside of the room two hours before you sleep; this includes phones, laptops, tablets and TVs. If you need your phone as an alarm, ensure you are not using it for anything else by keeping aeroplane mode on.
2. Create the right environment
The environment you sleep in plays a huge role in how well you sleep. If your bedroom is messy or filled with too much stuff or bold coloured furnishings, you may find it harder to relax your mind ready for a good night’s sleep. Many studies have shown that going to bed in a messy room can leave you feeling agitated and uneasy because your mind also feels disorganised.
I would ensure your bedroom has limited furnishings and storage and is kept as a bit of a sleep sanctuary. Use neutral colours on the walls and furnishings; opt for white bedsheets and dim lighting. I would also ensure you have a comfortable bed, mattress and pillows for a night of optimum sleep.
3. Read a book
Reading before bed is a sure-fire way for setting yourself up for a good night’s sleep. Even just 20 minutes of reading before bed can allow for a night of better night sleep and could mean you fall asleep much quicker. Reading allows us to feel sleepy due to the repetition and the relaxing nature of reading a physical book instead of staring at a screen.
I would try and use the hour before bed to get into a good book. It may be hard at first to concentrate and not be distracted, but after a while, you will soon get into the habit and won’t find yourself reaching for your phone anymore.
4. Adopt a self-care routine
Self-care is another great way to unwind and get our minds and bodies ready for a good night’s sleep. Self-care comes in all forms, but in the evening, it can be things like cooking a nutritious meal whilst listening to relaxing music, taking a hot bubble bath with essential oils, applying a face mask, lighting aromatherapy candles or reading. Little rituals before bed can make a huge difference in the quality of sleep, and for most people having a nightly routine works for them. Try to use the two hours before bed to relax and unwind. Finish work at an appropriate time and use those hours to try and relax and destress the mind.
Meditation can be a great way to promote a relaxed body and mind and has been used to destress for centuries. Try and dedicate 15 minutes a night to meditation, either right before bed or earlier in the evening. It can seem difficult at first, but with the right amount of practice, you should find that you can meditate for 15 minutes with 0 distractions, which can be life-changing for your quality of sleep.
Read more health and wellness features and guides here.