#CentennialTips on Taking Sleep Seriously: Six ways to stay rested when you’re stuck at home
You’d think being at home would help you sleep better, and it’s true that you have a lot more time for shuteye. But it turns out that staying home can actually mess up your sleep schedule, if you’re not careful. And the last thing you need is the mental and physical health problems that come from being exhausted all the time. Luckily, there’s plenty you can do to get it back on track. Here’s some tips from Fast Company and The Self Employed to keep your sleep cycle on track while you’re at home.
1. First things first: Make it a priority.
Don’t treat your sleep as something that fills the extra space at the end of your day. It’s an important factor for your mental and physical health, and if you’re doing online work and learning, it’ll drastically affect your performance if you’re missing out on good sleep.
2. Keep your personal and professional life separate.
That’s what working and learning from home does, it blurs those lines, and can make it harder to leave the stresses of school and work behind when they happened in the next room. That’s why it’s important (like I talked about here) to keep strict work and study hours, and make yourself a study space in your home that’s just for that purpose. And when the day ends (at a time you’ve scheduled), don’t go back to work or study.
3. Set a sleep schedule.
When you’re at home, and not on a set schedule, it’s tempting to just sleep whenever you want, or take naps during the day, but it can severely mess up your sleep cycle, and leave you tired most of the time. So, try to go to bed at the same time, and wake up at the same time, and try to get a solid seven to nine hours of sleep.
4. Don’t have a ton of coffee or sugar.
When you’re at the office or at school it may be harder to access coffee, but when you’re at home, you can load up if you’ve got a coffeemaker. It’s easy for it to become a habit, and if you’re not careful, an addiction that’ll seriously disrupt your sleep. Avoid coffee after lunchtime and, similarly, don’t eat a lot of sugar too close to bedtime, as it’ll also keep you up.
5. Don’t look at too many screens late at night
This is a big one when you’re at home. Between your laptop, phone, game devices and anything else, it’s easy to be staring at screens really late into the night. But those screens emit a particular kind of blue light that messes with your circadian rhythms, and makes it harder for you to wind down and get to sleep. So, make sure you’re not looking at any screens within an hour of going to bed if you can. Which brings us to the next thing…
6. Create a going-to-bed routine.
According to another Fast Company article, sleep doesn’t always come right away, but takes a bit of winding down to happen, so they recommend doing the following one hour before your bedtime:
- Spend the first 20 minutes finishing anything up that you absolutely have to do before tomorrow.
- Spend the next 20 minutes cleaning yourself up.
- Spend the final 20 minutes relaxing in whatever way fits you, such as reading a book.
What happens in each of those 20 minutes depends on the kind of person you are. One thing’s for sure, though, if you can do it without screens, you’ll sleep better in the end.
Create the ideal sleep environment
All of this is in vain if you’re not sleeping in a place that makes it easy. Fast Company’s also got a bunch of tips on how to make your sleeping space restful; here are a few of the more important ones:
- Get some blackout shades or curtains to hide the morning light, if you can.
- Wear an eye mask over your eyes, if the curtains don’t work.
- Get a dim nightlight, so you can get up at night without turning the lights on.
- Wear earplugs to block out ambient sound.
- Wash your bedsheets often, because fresh sheets feel better.
- Open your windows, or use an air filter to get the fresh air in, and remove dust and allergens.
- Spray some lavender scent, it promotes restfulness