When it comes to creatives, sleep optimisation is often the last priority. Consistent all nighters and being in a constant state of exhaustion is often glamourised as all part of that creative flow, a staple of the artsy freelancer life. It all ties in to that busy = better mindset that we are so susceptible to. If you had to stay up alllll night to get that post written, website designed or edit perfect that makes it even more artistic right? The romantic side of our brains says yes. Science though… science has a different opinion.
The fact is, our bodies cannot function optimally when sleep deprived. You know that friend of yours who always brags about how they can go without sleep and be ‘fine’? Well they’re partly right, they’re fine, if by fine you mean still breathing and just about functioning like a normal human being. What it actually means is that they’re just used to being sleep deprived… they’ve become used to functioning with a body in a state of chronic stress. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it any less unhealthy for you.
I get it girl, you’re out there building your empire, you don’t have time for all that sleep shiz. Well, you better make time honey. Okay, who am I to tell you what to do ? But I will tell you why I think it’ll improve just about everything in your life if you do listen to your girl on this one…
Sleep deprivation causes increased blood sugar, the weakening of the immune system and can wreak havoc on your metabolism causing you to gain fat! Can you really produce your best work if your health is declining like that?
It also hinders brain function so even if your answer to the above was yes, you’re probably not gaging the best opinion since your sleep deprived brain is so likely to miss things!
If you’re ready to optimise your sleep now, I find these top tips super helpful for both myself and my clients;
- Detox from your phone and all screens an hour or two before you sleep.
Yassss I know, it is so hard when your phone is basically your life and the last time you went to sleep to something other than Netflix was when you were 6 & still content with bedtime stories. But, do you really wanna be a hostage to your devices? Above that, it just works! I definitely fail on this sometimes, but I always sleep better when I get into bed and just lie with my thoughts or a book, rather than my Instagram feed. The blue lights from our devices send signals to our brain and stimulate us so we struggle to switch off and drift away.
2. Set a regular bedtime
I’m wondering when exactly I crossed this line and turned into my mother BUT you just gotta have a bedtime. Funnily enough, the time I slept the best was when my diary was full of 5.30am alarm clocks to accommodate a week full of morning clients. As much as I hated the idea of it, two weeks in I was waking up naturally minutes before my alarm and falling asleep at 9/10pm because my body had had enough! Waking up at the same time everyday also helps set your body clock.
3. Go easy on the digestive system
Try and finish eating a couple of hours before you go to bed, and avoid anything too heavy. You don’t want to put too much stress on your digestive system overnight which can keep you up or mean you have quite an interrupted sleep. Also cut down on liquids right before bed and that’ll minimise any middle of the night pee breaks!
4. Think like a caveman
Cavemen slept when it was dark and rose with the sun. Try and recreate that environment! Use black out curtains if you can and block out any blue lights. If you live in the city ,(where it’s noisy AF), use ear plugs to block out any background noise.