Sleep. It’s the one thing that most people want more of, yet are pretty bad at making a priority. In fact, according to the Smithsonian, almost 1/3 of Americans don’t get enough sleep.
Sometimes the lack of sleep is because our jobs and personal lives are demanding. But other times we go to sleep at a reasonable hour, but then restlessly wake up during the night. Poor sleep maintenance—the ability to stay asleep—is just as detrimental as not falling asleep in the first place.
Stress is a big contributor to poor sleep. And even the most disciplined of people have experienced increased stress during the Covid-19 pandemic. So, if you’re having more restless sleep recently, you’re, unfortunately, not alone.
TaskHuman coaches believe deeply in the power of good sleep. They see it as the foundation of your wellness, and they want to help you get better, more restful sleep on a consistent basis—whether that’s during stressful times or (hopefully!) calmer times in the near future.
Here are the 3 strategies TaskHuman coaches want you to try to sleep better tonight, and every night.
Routines can help with sleep because they keep your day on track. When you create a routine, your body learns to anticipate what comes next, and the same goes for sleep.
Think back to the last time you were with a toddler. They love a good routine, and there’s a reason for that. It helps them transition from one activity to the next without anxiety about what they’re supposed to do. And while our mental abilities may have matured (most days), our bodies still crave the ingrained knowledge and rituals.
According to Coach Andrea Caprio, our sleep works best when we approach our whole day as one big routine.
Listen as she explains:
A routine doesn’t have the same rigidity as a schedule. But there are some elements to use if you want to maximize the benefits of a detailed schedule.
Understanding if certain foods or activities too close to bedtime damage your sleep lets you schedule those activities better.
Listen as Coach Tiffany Albury describes scheduling a day:
When we talk about routines, it can be easy to plan all the obligations and forget the fun. But the fun is important for your wellbeing, and sleep too. It reduces stress and anxiety, and builds connection—all of which help create the atmosphere for good sleep.
Listen as Coach Zachary Cooper explains the importance of making sure you have fun in your day:
Sometimes, even when we have a good awake-time routine, we find ourselves staring at the ceiling and counting down the remaining hours of sleep we have left.
There are many technologies on the market that help with this problem, like weighted blankets, temperature controlling mattresses, Circadian-rhythm controlled lights, and science-backed white-noise machines.
Finding a tool that works for you is a good way of supporting your sleep needs.
Listen as Coach Lacey Pruett explains what she uses:
As you think through your routine, you’ll want to incorporate this next strategy too.
Our bodies are made for movement. But our current lives are intertwined to the point that separating ourselves from work can be difficult. We sit at the computer all day and move our under-used bodies to the couch to unwind. The body-positioning, blue light, and stagnation contribute to the cycle of exhaustion and sleeplessness.
Even just a little bit of movement helps.
Listen as Coach Julia Pontones explains:
As you move your body more, you regulate stress and anxiety, use excess energy, and even increase focus. Even though you’re taking a pause from work during movement breaks, it allows you to get more done, because your brain is calmer and more efficient when you are working.
Any movement is helpful for your circulation, but rigor to your workout will increase the benefits.
Listen as Coach Donna Scott explains:
Keep in mind, ultimately, you need to do what you can. And it doesn’t need to be an all-or-nothing approach. On lighter work days, schedule a sweat-inducing workout. On the days where work is busy, build in the movements where you can—even if it’s just a 10-minute walk.
It’s normal, especially now, to allow for flexibility in your routine. Even TaskHuman coaches face difficulties maintaining their wellness routines, especially during a pandemic.
Listen as Coach Tara Mazanec describes her habits:
To increase the sleep benefits from your movement breaks, take them outside.
Sunshine jump starts your body for sleep by boosting daytime hormones. When they peak at the correct time, they wane appropriately too, priming your body for good sleep.
Being outside also helps sleep because it reduces stress and anxiety (find a place where there aren’t crowds), and encourages deep breathing.
Listen as Coach Cheri Orndorf describes the benefits of going outside:
Using nature to connect with ourselves is important. But going outside now can reduce stress by being a simple and safe way to connect with other people, if all precautions are taken, of course. The need for masks and social distancing can lead people to withdraw from others, but you can still make small connections with people in a safe way.
Listen as Coach Joy McGowan explains:
The benefits of even just a few minutes outside make incorporating it into your routine important. Consider starting with something simple, like having your coffee, stretching, or journaling outside.
Keep in mind that, unlike your computer screen, the blue light found in nature packs a healthy dose of Vitamin D, a known immunity booster. Give yourself some of the real thing, and then make sure you cut yourself off from electronics before before bedtime.
Listen as Coach Kelly Hawk explains:
While restrictions have eased in many parts of the world, the pandemic is not over. The ongoing strain of managing our lives while working to stay healthy has made sleep more difficult for some. These tips will help you get started on improving your sleep for good.
If you think you want more individualized support, or you’re ready to improve another area of your health and wellness, schedule a 1 -on- 1 video call with a live TaskHuman coach today.