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What is good sleep hygiene? And why do we need to pay attention to our sleep?

There’s nothing like a good sleep, we all know that. It is a cornerstone of our overall wellbeing; without good sleep we just do not have the energy we need to face the tasks of our days. We don’t need to be told that we feel our best when we have had a good sleep, so why are more than 50% of us officially sleep deprived? This is especially interesting when we know that in the 1940’s only 8% of us were sleep deprived. What is going on? 

There is no doubt our busy ‘always on’ lives driven by technology advances alongside the never-ending quest to ‘be productive’ and make the best of our time are influencing the quality and quantity of our sleep – we light our homes much later than our natural circadian rhythm is designed for, we bring our phones to bed emitting blue light to suppress the melatonin that helps us get to sleep, we eat sugary snacks before we go to bed spiking our blood sugar levels, and alongside this we also have a narrative that sleep is a bit of a waste of time, having admiration for the rare mythical creatures who survive and thrive on five hours sleep a night. 

At Robertson Cooper, our approach recognises that to have a Good Day at Work, people need a good energy supply. Energy is the foundation of good wellbeing – we can’t do much without it – and sleep is one of the  four key pillars of energy management, alongside managing stress,  food & nutrition, and exercise & moving 

The key message we have on World Sleep Day is that all of these pillars of energy interact with one another; you may think that just getting a good night’s sleep will solve your tiredness or lack of energy, but the science doesn’t back this up. 

There is plenty of research out there about the interaction with other aspects of our lifestyles, such as how much we move during the day, what and when we eat and how we manage our stresses. Our own data shows that the people who have the best sleep: 

  • Take time to relax and de-stress  
  • Eat nutritionally healthy and low sugar diets 
  • Do not smoke 

Good sleep is a lifestyle, it is not just about going to bed on time – although that will clearly help – but you can’t expect to have a refreshing and restful night’s sleep if you do not also pay attention to your habits while you are awake. 

Ask yourself whether your daily habits are helping or hindering you in getting good sleep when the night draws in: 

  • What are your habits around light exposure – both natural light and artificial light? 
  • When do you eat the most, is it early or late in the day? 
  • Is the food you eat high in nutritious value?  
  • How close to bedtime do you do your exercise? 
  • How do you manage your everyday stressors – do you take time to decompress? 

These things matter in maximising sleep – and there really isn’t much better than a ‘good night’s sleep’. 

If you’d like to join things up for your employees, our Energy Management training programme, available in webinar and workshop format, is here to help. 

Give your employees a 'boost' with our lively Energy Management training session, available face-to-face or as a virtual broadcast.