• Sheelagh Daly

Is Poor Sleep Affecting Your Team?


With 45% of the world’s population having issues with sleep, it is likely that lack of proper rest is affecting many of your team members. Insufficient sleep can lead to cardiovascular risks, impaired cognitive functioning, and increased accidents on the road or in the workplace.


Fortunately, there are many ways we can improve the quantity, quality, and duration of our sleep. Here are three of our favourites:


1. Look out for light exposure


If you have ever thrown the covers or a pillow over your face to block out light when trying to fall asleep, you already know the impact it can have on your ability to drift off. But it plays an even bigger role than we may have once been aware of. Light helps to regulate our circadian rhythm (that’s our body’s internal signals for when to be alert vs. asleep), as well as the production of melatonin, which is an essential sleep-supporting hormone.


To keep our circadian rhythm and melatonin production functioning optimally, we want to expose our bodies to light during the day, while reducing exposure to it in the evening. Sunlight is much brighter than home or office light, and so enjoying some outdoor time during the day can be helpful. As bedtime approaches, aim to keep lights low and to eliminate the “blue light” created by your phone or computer screen, which may have an increased negative impact on your circadian rhythm and melatonin production. Creating a dark environment for sleep through blackout curtains may also be helpful.


2. Get moving!


Movement during the day supports a better sleep when nighttime rolls around. Research has shown that in as little as four weeks, individuals with chronic insomnia who began regular exercise were able to fall asleep up to 13 minutes more quickly, and to stay asleep for 18 minutes longer. Researchers even suggest that exercise may be as effective as hypnotic drugs at relieving insomnia.


Just 20 to 30 minutes of exercise during the day can go a long way. And it doesn’t have to be intense. Head out for a walk around the block, a bike ride in your neighborhood, or simply dance around your apartment -- whatever helps you feel good and get your body moving during the day, so it will be eager to get to sleep at night.


3. Create a wind-down routine


Establishing a series of relaxing activities is a great way to signal to your body in the evening that bedtime is approaching. About an hour before bed, turn off all screens and experiment with a few restful new habits. You can do some light stretching or yoga, read, meditate, diffuse some essential oils, journal, have an Epsom salt bath, or try out a new relaxing hobby like knitting or drawing. Giving your body some time to know rest is approaching can help you to drift off more smoothly when it comes time to turn off the lights.


Want more sleep support?


If you found these tips helpful and want to learn more about how to improve you and your team’s sleep, consider inquiring about our Healthy Sleep & Self Care workshop.