“Creating structure is a healthy and hopeful thing to do; it gives one a sense of being in control,” – Colin Espie, professor of sleep medicine at the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Oxford
In the previous article, we considered some tips for parents with young children to create routines. The common thread running through our current series is exploring the power of rhythm as a powerful tool to manage the current prolonged season of working from home where boundaries between work and private lives disappear.
Another important but surprisingly neglected facet of building healthy routines and rhythm is our sleep. Sleep is often underrated and an aspect of our lives we pay little attention to. It is also the first thing sacrificed when our schedules threaten to burst at the seams.
Quality sleep is extremely important to our mental and physical wellbeing. Sleep experts recommend sleeping between 7 to 8 hours each day. If our body gets less than the recommended sleep window, productivity dips and the ability to regulate emotional responses also reduces. Research also shows that lack of sleep affects blood pressure, cardiovascular and respiratory functions. Even more interesting are studies that link sleep with better metabolism and weight profile (BMI).
Sleeping between 7 and 8 hours means spending about a third of each day in bed. For an activity that chalks up a large chunk of our time, it is important to explore ways to make the best of it. Research has unearthed a trove of ideas that can help us improve our sleep. Over the next few weeks, we will explore different categories of take-home tips that you can implement to enhance your overall sleep quality and reap a elevated sense of wellbeing.
We could start by building on our overarching topic of rhythms and routines and explore how it can be extended to our sleep habits. Consistency is the essence, which means going to bed and rising at the same time. It is usually easier to decide what time to wake up in the morning based on your daytime routine (check out our previous articles for tips on this). Count back 7 to 8 hours to determine the time you should be in bed.
(Photo by Kate Stone Matheson on Unsplash)