How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

“Eurrrrgh, how do you sleep at night?” a client once asked me, flabbergasted at the “inflated and overly aggressive” 15% fee I asked him to pay, for three months work.

“On a bed of money” apparently wasn’t he was looking for.

And of course, it wasn’t true. Even if I used notes, I’d struggle for comfort.

But the importance of a good night’s sleep can’t be over estimated. It will make or break your day. And in recruitment if you’re not getting the most out of your days, you’re hamstrung in success.

So, here’s some top advice to help increase the quality, and quantity of sleep.

First, forget about stress of the day

In recruitment this is easier said than done.

You’re always going to have worries in the back of your mind. Upcoming interviews. Potential deals falling out. Candidates going missing.

To help you sleep, write down everything you’ve got on your mind. Keep this on a pad next to your bed. And just by transferring stresses to paper, they become easier to solve.

The same pad can be used to write down ideas in the middle of the night. 

This will not only limit your phone usage, but help you get back to sleep quicker should those million pound ideas wake you up at 3am.

To further assist you in abating stress, once you’ve written current worries, write something you’re thankful for after each one.

Whilst this sounds corny, focusing on positives will change your mindset from anxiety to thankfulness. And it’ll help you destress at the end of a long day. Limiting caffeine intake will also make the day shorter and help you unwind.

Impose a cut off near midday to give yourself a fighting chance.

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5 Minutes ‘ME Time’

Having ‘me time’ is absolutely crucial in everyone’s day.

For parents reading this, that might seem like a distant memory. But even if your ‘me time’ is five minutes in the bathroom before you go to bed. It’s important to reconnect with yourself.

What you do in that time is up to you. Could be ten minutes mediation. Could be sports. Just a soak in the bath. You’ll find yourself happier and more content.

And when you go to sleep, you’ll feel calmer and quicker to relax.

Stop using electronics an hour before

Possibly one of the hardest things to do.

Everyone likes to watch something or scan social media before going to bed. But the blue light omitted will trick your brain into thinking it’s daylight. Meaning when you shut your eyes, you’re going against your body’s natural circadian rhythm.

If you’re a reader, pick up a book. If you’re not a reader, and have the benefit of lying next to someone, try doing ‘something else.

If you’re determined to watch or browse on your phone, or find this step too difficult, switch your phone to ‘eye-saving mode’. At least that way, the light shining into your soul, from 20cm away is less damaging.

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Then, you need to actually get to sleep

This is sometimes harder than it sounds. You never remember how you fell asleep. It seems, just by pretending to do so, you eventually nod off.

But there are ‘tricks of the trade’ you can learn to help you drift off. If you believe some articles, this can be done within 2 minutes. There’s a military trick, that soldiers use in the field to nod off.

That advice is…

i) Try to relax your face. Difficult at first glance, but once you try, you’ll start to notice it happening.

ii) Relax the muscles below your head. Releasing your neck, dropping your shoulders and arms.

iii) Exhale as far as you can go and regiment your breathing.

iv) Relax your legs all the way down to your toes

v) Imagine a calming image. This could be below the stars on a warm night. Floating on a calm blue lake, on a sunny day. Or a barley field moving to the rhythm of your breathing.

Prep

There’s lots of research out there to help you rest properly in bed.

You can use tech, like the Sleep Cycle app. A smart alarm clock that wakes you up in the most convenient place in your sleep cycle. But like everything in life, it’s important to know what works for you.

For me, Sleep Cycle shows me how much, or rather how little, sleep I actually had. So often counter productive.

But I know, if I’m struggling for rest a glass of red and good book will help. For others, a sleep diary works. For some, playing noise in the background, like a trickling stream.

Knowing and honing your sleep routine, will mean your morning routine benefits too. And that will increase success and productivity every single day.