In this time, we are surrounded by uncertainty, so it's definitely worth maintaining a good routine to ground us, and help maintain a sense of normality which can also help with looking after your mental health.
But that’s easier said than done. If you find it hard to maintain a routine then here are 9 tips to help maximise your sleep which is a solid basis for setting your routine as well as added benefits of reduced stress levels, enhanced productivity, improvement in sleep patterns, and overall mood.
15 – that’s the magic number
Let’s start with the obvious… You can’t jump out of bed at the crack of dawn if you haven’t had a decent amount of sleep. So, the first step is getting an earlier night. Granted, that’s often easier said than done. If your body isn’t ready to rest and your mind just won’t shut off, you won’t be able to force yourself to sleep. Don’t overdo it, set your bedtime just 15 minutes earlier. That might not seem like much right now but make this minor change just four times over a week or two, and you’ll be hitting the hay a whole hour earlier before you know it.
Put that light out!
Our smartphones, TVs, tablets, laptops, and other electronic gadgets have become such a huge part of our daily lives that it’s often hard to put them down—even at bedtime. But technology affects sleep in more ways than you realise. The artificial blue light emitted by screens disrupts our natural sleep pattern. To avoid overstimulation, we suggest switching off at least an hour before you turn in for the night.
If you find yourself lying in bed exhausted or dreading the day ahead, it can be tempting to hit that snooze button. Instead, try counting backwards from five, and then force yourself to get up. The idea is to give yourself just five seconds before getting on with whatever task has you feeling overwhelmed. Helping you push past feelings of hesitation, self-doubt, or fear. A great motivator for getting started in the mornings!
Good morning sunshine!
You might not be able to control everything that happens during the day, but you can control how it begins. Why endure mornings when they can be enjoyed? We suggest starting each day with a task or activity that brings you joy, before cracking on with the working day. Whether that’s reading a chapter of your book, enjoying a healthy breakfast, or calling a loved one. Start positive and the rest of the day can be taken in stride!
Stick to your schedule
We all fancy an occasional lie-in, but just one late start can undo all the progress you’ve made towards changing your sleep schedule. You don’t want to be back to square one as Sunday night creeps in. Just think how rough Monday morning will be then! If you really can’t resist the urge for a lie-in as a weekend treat, limit yourself to an extra hour. This can help avoid pushing your sleep schedule back too much.
Never skip breakfast
Breakfast is often called ‘the most important meal of the day’, and for good reason. Breakfast helps to replenish your supplies of glucose, boosting energy levels, and helping you to feel more alert. Without morning fuel you’re running on empty - no wonder you’re having trouble focusing! Ideally, eating within two hours of waking up is recommended, improving memory, concentration levels, and mood.
Early morning workouts
Research has shown that just 20 minutes of moderate exercise can boost your mood for the next 12 hours. What better way to feel prepared and energised for the day ahead! Plus, by fitting in a morning workout, there’s less time to find excuses to skip the gym, or to give your evening walk a miss.
When focusing on long term goals, we might overlook our smaller successes and how they are affecting our daily lives. Try using a journal to track how your sleeping and waking habits are affecting your mood and energy levels.
Ask yourself ‘Why?’
It’s important to consider your end goal. Why do you want to be a morning person? Is it so you can be more productive throughout the day? Because you’re fed up of feeling like an extra from Shaun of the Dead when you wake-up? Or to help you spend more quality time with family on weekends? By focusing on the why, you can continue to feel motivated if you find yourself struggling.