WELLBEING BLOG. Work hard, rest harder: secrets behind quality sleep for peak performance

Experts say that producing a peak performance is dependent on getting a decent kip. In her new regular blog, wellbeing expert HARRIETTE LUSCOMBE, from Coaches For Change, reveals five secrets behind quality sleep.

Sleep is the often overlooked secret to achieving peak performance in our lives. Despite its importance, many of us neglect our sleep, leading to negative repercussions on our physical and mental well-being.

According to a study by Nuffield Health in 2022, 74% of adults reported suffering from bad sleep and nearly three-quarters were reporting worse sleep than the year before.

In a society that values hard work, sleep is often sacrificed in the name of productivity. However, paradoxically, depriving ourselves of proper sleep hinders our ability to perform at our best, potentially costing the UK economy £37 billion.

Studies have shown that lack of quality sleep negatively impacts focus, memory, and concentration—essential qualities for success in the office. Additionally, a lack of sleep can impair stress management abilities, leading to unhealthy coping mechanisms and impacting our immune system, making us more susceptible to coughs and colds.

To unlock the secrets to quality sleep, here are five research-backed ideas to try:

1/ Track your sleep patterns. Start by monitoring your sleep patterns to identify any areas for improvement. The Sleep Foundation offers a free downloadable sleep diary that can be used to track your sleep duration and quality.

2/ Consistency is key. Establish a bedtime and waking time, even on weekends. By adhering to a regular sleep schedule, you help regulate your body’s internal clock, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up refreshed. As an extra bonus, try to expose yourself to natural light in the morning to help regulate your sleep-wake cycle even further.

3/ Manage nighttime waking. Rather than worrying when you wake up during the night, accept it as a normal occurrence. Refrain from turning on lights or using electronic devices that emit blue light, as this can disrupt the production of melatonin, a hormone that aids in sleep.

4/ Create a sleep haven. Transform your bed into a sanctuary for sleep by minimising distractions and creating a relaxing environment. Remove electronic devices, invest in comfortable bedding, and consider incorporating relaxation techniques like reading or listening to calming music before sleep.

5/ Avoid stimulants. Refrain from consuming caffeine or alcohol close to bedtime. These substances can interfere with your ability to fall asleep and reduce sleep quality.

Prioritizing quality sleep not only benefits your personal wellbeing but also has a positive impact on those around you. Improved sleep leads to increased productivity and better decision-making skills, ultimately benefiting your career.

Therefore, make a conscious effort to optimise your sleep routine, and watch as the quality of your work and personal life reaches new heights.

Picture credit: Alexandra Gorn on Unsplash


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