How to create a Zen-Zone?
We all want to get a good night sleep! In theory, we all know it is good for us, and often it is easier said than done. The good news: Revamping your bedtime routine can be easy and also enjoyable. Here are a few tips that sleep experts recommend that will help you to get the promising shut-eyed hours you crave and I have applied those during my extensive business travels which not only sound good in theory but work in practice. They helped me over the years to go to bed being more relaxed and be waking up happier and well rested.
1 Create a comfortable sleeping environment
Keep the bedroom dark, cool and as quiet as possible and switch off all electronics before going to bed. According to Harvard Medical School, research states that any stimulating objects incl. electronics, lights and noise effect levels of melatonin, our sleeping hormone which is great for daytime when the body needs to be alerted, but needed during night time. (Gooley et al 2010).
2 Avoid stressful, conflicts, or anxiety-inducing situations before bedtime:
During business travels, this is the hardest to avoid as business trips usually involve dinner meetings with constant conversation about work. As study suggests, as electronics, noise and light increase our level of alertness; stressful situations create tension in our bodies, our heart starts to race, blood is pumping into our legs and arms, away from our digestive tract and our cortisol levels, the stress hormone, increase to get us prepared for a ‘fight or flight’ situation. Even though there is no tiger attacking us, in our DNA, we still experience what would have been valuable 1000s of years ago. Protect yourself and practice self-love by preventing yourself to deal with stressful topics long before bedtime.
3 Set a sleep routine
Human beings like routine. Not many feel comfortable being in ambiguity and in an uncertain environment, ultimately triggering stress (Beyond Philosophy, 2013). When it comes to sleeping, nothing is more important than having a regular schedule. And to keep this schedule not only during the week but also during the weekends. Ideally, you go to bed and get up at the same time each day.
4 Regular Exercise routine
As much as you we need the down-time, we need to know when to accelerate our heart-beat. And there is nothing better then a good exercise regime. Walsh (2009) outlines in his research that exercise increases total sleep time, in particular the slow-wave to support the body to repair and maintain itself. Do avoid exercise right before your down-time. You want to avoid your body to be flushed with energy but increase the melatonin level in your body.