Are You a Sleeping Beauty?

Roy Morgan shows over 4.3 million people (32% of working Australians) have been ‘working from home’ (WFH) since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down.

Staying motivated, retaining work-life balance and video conference etiquette are just some of the challenges alongside home schooling and the inadequacy of a home office setup.

However, science does have some answers that we can use to help us to sleep and create a good routine to wake refreshed and maintain our sense of wellbeing as best we can during these challenging times.

Sleep Hygiene

Healthy sleep habits can make all the difference in sleeping restfully and waking refreshed and ready to tackle a new day. Researchers and science have identified a variety of practices and habits often referred to as ‘sleep hygiene’ that can maximize the hours spent sleeping and the ability to wake refreshed.

Routine and Structure

One of the most important things that we can do to ensure we have a successful night’s sleep and wake refreshed is to make sure that our bedtime has routine and structure.

Maintain your usual sleep routine – oversleeping can dampen your cognitive function according to a 2018 study on cognitive abilities. Not getting enough sleep over a period of days, weeks and months can affect abilities such as the storage and recall of information, problem solving and communication. In a global sample of over 10,000 people, cognitive function was impaired in those typically sleeping les or more than 7-8 hours per night. In terms of overall cognition, those that reported a duration of sleep of only four hours per night was seen to the equivalent of aging 8 years.

Are you an owl or a lark?

Structure your workload for when you feel the most energised dependent upon if you are more productive in the morning or in the evening. Regardless of the time that you go to bed, make sure that you establish a regular pre-sleep routine that begins at least an hour before you go to bed which includes limiting exposure to stimulation such as work, answering emails, screen time etc. Reading a book, taking a relaxing bath, or practicing breathing exercises will add to your sleep preparation. Avoid coffee, tea and alcohol at least 3 hours before bed. A good substitute is beverages that enhance sleep such as chamomile tea.