By Lucy Shrimpton, The Sleep Nanny®
Getting a good night’s sleep when you’re a busy, professional woman is hard at the best of times if you have so much going on but the past 12 months has really put us to the test.
With many women juggling a busy work agenda with home schooling, as well as managing to keep up a healthy lifestyle and relationship – it’s been tough!
So here are my top tips to any woman who is struggling to sleep through the night:
- Find some me time – draw a bath for yourself, read a book, do something you really enjoy to take your mind off your worries. Consciously step away from work at a reasonable hour before bed to give you time to switch off.
- Avoid a big meal before bed and try not to eat dinner too late. Avoid sugary foods and caffeine for at least three hours before bed. Foods containing high levels of tryptophan like bananas, green leafy vegetables, eggs and dairy combined with some fibre filled carbohydrates are the best combination to promote healthy sleepiness.
- Invest in an alarm clock so that you’re not relying on your phone to wake you. Try to switch off all electronics at least an hour before bed to give yourself some time away from the blue light of the screen. That blue light prevents the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls sleep, keeping you awake for longer so if you can, keep it outside of the bedroom.
- Try to keep a relaxing bedroom environment. Warm lighting, candles, soothing music will combine to make your bedroom a sanctuary to escape the world and unwind in.
If you have to work from your bedroom try to put everything away at the end of the day so that you’re not reminded of work just as you’re trying to drift off. Try to compartmentalise your living space so that you have an area dedicated to work that is easy to tidy away and hide at the end of the day. If you can, set up a desk in another part of the house.
- If you’re prone to waking up in the night worrying about things, keep a notepad close by on your nightstand. That way, you can unload your thoughts, ideas and ‘to dos’ by brain dumping these onto a page and allowing your mind to let go and relax.
- Find a good book to read before bed that will hep tire your eyes out and take you to another world. Avoid any books related to work though as that will only draw you back in!
- Get some exercise – I know it’s difficult right now but try to get an hour of fresh air each day with some exercise thrown in. The fresh air can make a whole world of difference to how you feel, especially if you’re working from home.
- Don’t start your day by grabbing your phone and consuming everything from the news and emails to social media. By consuming that stuff you are starting the day with added overwhelm and stress and potentially more to-do’s. The first hour of your day sets the tone for your whole day so try to breath and stretch and go through your essential morning routine before you begin consuming media of any kind.
- Sort out your children’s sleep issues. If you have children who are struggling to sleep through the night and then waking you up, my biggest piece of advice would be to get into a consistent bedtime routine. The cue and rhythm of which will help them settle. Be utterly consistent – if they wake up in the night, don’t let them crawl into bed with you one night and not expect them to want to another. Consistency and routine are key. Also, make sure they are not overtired as that is the root to all child sleep problems.
- If it’s a matter of stress and anxiety that is keeping you up at night, please talk to someone about your concerns. Pick up the phone and call a friend who can listen. Or write things down if you’re afraid of what people will think. There are also plenty of mental health apps out there that are helping people daily with their anxiety so look into ones that might suit you. Just don’t suffer in silence – seek help if you really need it.
About the author
Lucy Shrimpton is founder of The Sleep Nanny® (www.sleepnanny.co.uk). As well as helping parents overcome the challenges associated with childhood sleep, she and her team of experts train up thousands of people each year to become Sleep Nannies in the Sleep Nanny Academy. If you are interested in a change of career and becoming a Sleep Nanny visit www.sleepnannyacademy.com.
WeAreTheCity covers the latest female centric news stories from around the world, focusing on women in business, careers and current affairs. You can find all the latest gender news here.