As marketers, we’re often placed in high-stress situations that can bleed into our private life at home. Whether that means working overtime or just thinking about your tasks for the next day, these factors can have a large impact on your health and, in particular, your sleep.
I love sleep, and I’m great at it. And up until recently, I have taken sleep for granted.
Over the past year, I’ve watched a loved one struggle with sleep deprivation, which was an incredibly scary and challenging experience. I wish that I had the knowledge and awareness that I have now, as I could have been more supportive and prevented or limited the gravity of the situation.
Along with nutrition and exercise, good sleep is one of the pillars of health. High-quality sleep is extremely important for our bodies for so many reasons – it fortifies your immune system, balances your hormones, boosts your metabolism, increases physical energy, reduces body fat, improves the function of your brain and just generally enables your mind and body to continue to function!
In fact, a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal showed that sleep deprivation is directly related to an inability to lose weight. So, without proper sleep, your body will not gain the benefits of exercise and nutrition – which makes sleep potentially the most important pillar.
According to health professionals, the average adult should get between seven to eight hours sleep a night. A quick Green Hat poll showed that we’re generally a healthy(ish) bunch, on average getting six to seven hours per night.
In light of this, and with the summer festive season soon approaching, I would love to share some tips with you on how to maintain your mental balance this silly season by practicing good self-care!
We tend to be more caring, considerate and aware of others than we usually are of ourselves. It’s important to be aware of your own coping capacity, listen to the signals your body may be trying to tell you and treat yourself as if you’re looking after someone else.
2. Our bodies love routine!
Forming healthy habits is really important for our mental health, especially when it comes to sleep. Going to bed and waking up at a similar time most days ensures that our body creates a stable sleep-wake cycle, which means it’s easier to get to sleep and sleep-quality improves.
3. Feel at peace by meditating
Psychotherapist and author, Dr Ron Alexander, says that mental strength is one of the most empowering tools we can employ to impact and improve all aspects of life.
Meditating is not for everyone, but definitely worth giving a shot! Not only can meditating reduce anxiety, improve your mood and decrease stress, it also aids in employee productivity by increasing focus and creativity!
4. Good gut health
Did you know that your gut sends 90% of messages to your brain but your brain sends only 10% of messages to your gut? Not only is good gut health important for your physical state, but clearly incredibly important for your mental state as well. Include more of the right foods into your diet to maintain a positive gut environment!
As marketers, we are visually connected to our screens all day and most nights! Being exposed to the digital world for hours can disrupt our entire system, so be mindful of your exposure and make an effort to disconnect.
6. Get some sun!
Not only do we need sunshine to increase our vitamin D levels, but we also need the morning sunlight exposure to kick start our circadian rhythm (wake cycle). Ideally, getting 30 minutes of sunshine in the morning will help your melatonin levels drop. Now that summer is approaching, get outside for your daily dose!
7. Have a caffeine curfew
There is a lot of debate around coffee, both the health benefits or lack thereof. Our friends at Nestlé Professional suggest that there are many positive benefits of coffee, including improving employee satisfaction and boosting productivity in the workplace. However, from a sleep perspective, it may have negative impacts depending on one’s sensitivity. Caffeine usually remains in your bloodstream for about three to seven hours, so having a caffeine curfew in the afternoon will allow your body to completely remove the caffeine.
8. There are only two things you should be doing in bed
Sleep and sex. Using the bedroom for activities other than these can make sleep more challenging, as it reduces the mental association you have between bed and sleep. In addition, being exposed to blue light from TV or device screens in the evening tricks the brain into thinking that it is daytime, which inhibits the production of melatonin, reducing both the quantity and quality of sleep. Not to mention the negative impact of EMFs (electromagnetic fields)! Instead of watching Netflix or scanning through Instagram, try reading or meditating one hour before bed to allow your mind to completely relax and prepare for sleep – and keep your devices out of the bedroom!
9. Reduce alcohol intake
Instantly falling asleep after a big night out then finding yourself wide awake what seems shortly after is a familiar feeling for most, I’m sure! Although initially making you feel relaxed to fall asleep faster, after several hours, alcohol raises the body’s level of epinephrine, a stress hormone that increases the heart rate and generally stimulates the body, which significantly disrupts your sleep. This means you won’t be able to fall into a deeper level of sleep and your body won’t be able to fully rejuvenate.
Not only is the Work Responsibly website a beautifully designed site, but it also holds a great collection of resources for a healthy and balanced approach to work. If you get time, it’s worth having a browse to make sure you stay a healthy marketer!
If you would like to find out more about sleep I’d recommend reading or listening to Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson, or drop me a line.