You can read part 1 of the series here.
You can read part 2 of the series here.
In the final instalment of our series, we highlight further strategies and behaviours that lead to exceptional results with personal health, wellness, energy and performance. As with our previous tips, these are all simple ideas that, when implemented with consistency, will lead to dramatic and positive results.
Take charge of technology
Technology is one of the greatest sleep robbers around at the moment. While it can be tempting to finish off a document or send a final email, and even if it’s for something we enjoy like checking that last social media update or having a look at a few more holiday websites, the danger is that screen time eats time and before you know it, you’re late getting to sleep and your mind is buzzing.
You have to create some boundaries around your screen time and some guidelines for how you use your email. Be proactive in this regard because how we rule our technology (or how technology rules us as it sometimes feels) is usually simply a result of habits forming loosely over time and being left unchallenged. Things like staying up late to clear emails – this may have been a good idea one night but if it ends up being every night then the balance probably isn’t how you’d like it to be.
Clear out the clutter
Your sleep environment should be a haven of calm. Make sure your room is tidy and dark enough to sleep well in. Clear away all clothes, books, magazines, work-related items and remove all exercise kit from your bedroom as well as ridding it of television, technology and associated cables, chargers and wires.
Eat your way to a great night’s sleep
Most people are aware of items that disrupt the smooth functioning of our mind and body – these include caffeine and sugary and fatty foods – but it’s not just close to bedtime when we should be wary of consuming these products. The more you disrupt your body’s calm environment throughout the day, the harder it can be to relax for good sleep at bedtime, so aim to keep a stable physical environment as regularly as you can.
Foods that help the body stay calm and focused through the day, and in turn aid good sleep, include protein such as nuts, fish, and turkey, and calcium in the form of kale or spinach. Tryptophan is a great sleep aid and can be found in hummus. Magnesium and potassium are useful inclusions in your routine as they help to relax muscles and you can find both of these in bananas.
Porridge is a good choice to start the day and can also be a great sleep aid when consumed for supper. Always focus on unrefined carbohydrates such as brown bread, pasta and rice. Finally, although alcohol may help you fall asleep, it can disrupt the quality of your sleep so use in moderation and don’t come to rely on it.
Make lists and use them
Your ideas for weekly healthy eating should form the basis of your shopping list. It doesn’t matter who actually does the shopping in your house or your office, but make stocking up on what you need a priority. If healthy options are close by, you can follow your plan without too much thinking and get on with your busy day. If you get stuck without these options you’ll end up wasting valuable time thinking about alternatives and interrupting what you’re doing to grab whatever’s available near by. And whatever’s near by might not always be that great.
Carry healthy options at all times
Great portable choices include oatcakes, rice crackers, fruit, dried fruit and nuts. Within each of these categories there’s plenty of variety so you won’t get bored.
Establish your ideal exercise time
There’s no perfect time of the day to exercise other than the time that suits you and will ensure your exercise actually gets done! Consider the options and choose what works best for you. Many people prefer to exercise early as a way to set them up for a productive day. Some would rather get active during the day as a way to create two productive half days, rather than one long day during which energy levels can dwindle. Others like to get active towards the end of the day as a way to draw a line beneath work and move onto their evening.
Exercise as a sleep aid
Exercise is a great way to keep your mind and body calm during the day and this will aid good sleep at night. Trying to fit in exercise should not become stressful as that can ultimately lead to interrupted sleep, so think about how some level of moderate activity best fits into every day, to ensure you feel calm and balanced, and aim to complete a more challenging workout every two to three days.
Ideal wellbeing is an ongoing priority
Ultimately, perfecting your ideal wellness routine is an ongoing process and one best shaped by regular reviews of your actions and behaviour in relation to your specific, personal wellbeing objectives. This way, you’ll always know which of these the tips in our series, or other wellness advice you’ll come across, will be most useful for you at every stage of your life.
We wrote this series originally for HR Zone website.