Now at the beginning of the new year, I revel in the beauty and excitement brought by a clean slate and taking stock of what goals we’d like to accomplish in 2019. As a board certified Health & Wellness coach, I encourage alumni clients to consider the big picture as to what might affect reaching your goals successfully, whether they’re personal or professional.
Last year’s top New Year’s resolutions included eating healthier and getting more exercise, both essential strategies toward optimal physical wellness. Often times separated, and sometimes overlooked, are how the physical wellness components impact professional goals. After all, Gallup research has shown that physical wellness directly impacts career wellness and vice versa.
Many might find New Year resolutions for nutrition and movement as kick starters for physical goals, but sleep is another area that can quickly affect your professional goals too. So how might we make mindful decisions in our daily sleep routine that can directly and positively influence our professional lives?
By getting at least 7 hours of sleep every night (7.5 hours is recommended for 5 full REM cycles), we are increasing our ability to be more productive, make smarter and sounder decisions, and lead happier lives. Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington learned in a very abrupt, and hard, way when she was diagnosed with extreme exhaustion due to lack of sleep. Falling victim to a culture that touts overworking and hyper-productivity, it wasn’t until she slowed down and committed to getting good sleep that she realized the efficiency and potential of productivity when well rested. Her book The Sleep Revolution goes into great detail and research the benefits from unplugging and dedicating enough time to the needed rest.
How might you work toward getting this elusive 7+ hours of sleep? Below are some ways to set yourself up for success in getting your much-needed shut eye.
- Set a bedtime by working backward–What time do you need to wake up? Count back 7.5 hours, account for your alarm snooze time, and shoot to be in bed 15-30 minutes before in order to wind down. Example: If you need to be up by 6:30 am and you typically hit snooze twice, set your alarm for 6:15. If you’re in bed around 10:15 pm, this accounts for getting settled in bed, sleeping for 7.5 hours, and time to hit snooze twice to be up by 6:30 am.
- Create a routine around bedtime—My routine includes hot tea with Natural Calm, a magnesium supplement, and a daily reminder at 9 pm to start getting ready for bed. Arianna Huffington’s includes a bath and a special pair of pajamas, only worn for sleeping, not lounging around the house. What might you incorporate into your bedtime routine?
- Limit blue light usage 2 hours before bedtime—In our technology driven world, this may be easier said than done. Blue light blocking glasses aren’t fashionable, but can be purchased on Amazon. Another option would be to use a blue light filter setting on your phone to change the hues to align with the sunrise and sunset. If you enjoy reading, consider making this part of your bedtime routine instead of watching TV or scrolling through your phone.
- Set the environment–Sleeping in a dark, cool room promotes cooler body temperatures and keeps your natural circadian rhythm better aligned for the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Consider removing and/or covering up artificial light sources, cover windows with blackout shades/curtains, and keep the room at a cooler temperature if possible.
These are only the beginning of many more suggestions that might help kick start a mindful effort to get the sleep you need to be at your best. Other areas of physical wellness can also affect your sleep patterns. For the IUAA Career Navigator Webcast for February 2019, I dive deeper into how focusing on three physical wellness components (nutrition, movement and sleep) can help you toward reaching better engagement, productivity, and fulfillment in your professional careers. Join us Wednesday, February 13, 2019 at 2 pm ET. Register here: www.iualumnicareers.com