Working from home is affecting your sleep cycle. Here's how to reclaim it.
You know that feeling – you’ve worked a long day, had dinner late, caught up with that mandatory TV show and then you hit the bed. Except that instead of falling sleep, you’re staring at the ceiling. It’s 3 am, you get up to snack and then the ceiling again. You finally fall asleep at 5 am, (the time at which you were supposed to wake up) turn off your alarm and finally wake up at 9.55, exactly five minutes before you start your work day. You get out of bed promising yourself to hit the bed early except the cycle repeats.
How to fall asleep faster
Those of you who fall asleep the moment you hit the bed are, without a doubt, a fortunate lot. Thank your stars, friends, because god knows it’s a gift. For the rest of you, here are some effective tips to help you fall asleep. Most of these are common-sense and you may wonder why we’re spelling them out. But, more often than not, we skip the simplest, most obvious instructions, don’t we?
The most important thing to do is start today. It doesn’t matter if you’re reading this on a weekend or the middle of the week. If you want to learn how to fall asleep faster, the key is to get your body into a routine and the best way to do that is to get started while you still have the motivation. So, start by deciding that you will sleep at a decent hour today… and actually follow through. To do that:
1. Put away your phone
That instruction could well be the first on any number of self-improvement lists and for good reason. Silicon Valley insiders have confessed that smartphones have been designed to be addictive and the only way to get away from it is to literally put your phone away. The bright screens, the colourful apps, those Insta Stories – all of them contribute to your staying up late. So it’s best to put away that phone.
2. Avoid watching TV/working on the computer screen
What applies to the phone, applies to TV and laptops too. The light that screens emit restrain the production of melatonin – this is the hormone that controls your sleep cycle. So if you want to fall asleep faster, the second thing you need to do is to avoid watching TV or working till 10 minutes before bedtime. Experts recommend staying away from the screen for up to two hours before bedtime but, let’s face it, that may not always be possible. So aim for a realistic one hour?
3. Make your bedroom an inviting place
One of the reasons why we sleep better in hotel rooms is because they are inviting. Apply that same philosophy to your bedroom and notice the difference it makes to your sleep patterns. Turn on the AC some time before bedtime, light a candle or burn incense oils. Doing these little things will transform your bedroom into a relaxed space. Automatically, you will want to put away all the stressors – such as your phone, laptop etc – and hit the bed.
4. Watch your water intake
One of the things that causes most distraction in the night is having to wake up to use the bathroom. The best way to control this is to watch your water intake in the hours before you sleep. If, however, you do find yourself waking up too often to use the bathroom, it would be a good idea to consult a doctor.
5. Avoid the nightcap
Research has revealed that even though alcohol helps the adenosine levels in your body go up and make you feel sleepy, alcohol also metabolises very fast and so these levels fall very quickly too. As a result, your night cap may just keep you awake instead of putting you to asleep.