Last night, I began to read an excellent fiction right before I went to bed. The plot twists! The engaging dialogue! The cliffhangers! It was a great read. But when I ultimately went to set the book down two hours later, I was completely wired and nowhere near sleep, and I wasnat too productive the next day.
I always thought it was a good habit to read before bed. Was I wrong?
Kind of. I had failed to take my own advice — to do something mindless before bed — and had instead remained shall include participation in something that was mentally stimulating, instead of something that helped me wind down. Stress is stress, whether its source is work or a fictional heroine who wonat leave her unfaithful husband. And that stress is responsible for 33% of adults losing sleep.
But my story shows that external stressors arenat always to blame. Sometimes, our own routines are getting in the way of our productivity, especially when it comes time to settle in for the evening. Itas not easy, but with a little recognition and behavior modification, your bedtime routine can go from wrecking your work, to enhancing your productivity.
You’re Not Sleeping Enough, and Your Bedtime Routine Could be to Blame
As you may have guessed, we are faced with a sleep deprivation epidemic — 34. 8% of U.S. adults sleep less than the recommended minimum of 7 hours each night. And itas getting expensive. In the U.S ., the lack of productivity caused by sleep loss expenses employers as much as $411 billion a year.
Less than seven hours in one night is what the CDC calls ashort sleepa: a term weall employ throughout this post. Among such side effects as high blood pressure and diabetes, short sleep can also lead to afrequent mental distress.a In other words, it can really mess up our work, and life in general.
On top of that, short sleep is linked to a higher likelihood of obesity, probably due to its correlation with poor eating habits. When youare sleep-deprived, youare more likely to mindlessly eat or make less-than-healthy food selections. But we also feed poorly when weare emphasized, and when weare stressed, we donat sleep well. All of these behaviours are connected and, ultimately, are leading to this outbreak of exhaustion.
That network of cause-and-effect does more than illustrate that youare probably not sleeping enough. It shows the intricacy behind why youare not sleeping enough, which is where your bedtime routine comes in. So letas explore some of the awhyas. Once youare aware of them, you can fixing them.
6 Reasons Why Your Bedtime Routine Is Wrecking Your Productivity
1) Youare eating a bunch of crap( and probably too late in the day ).
In addition to short sleep causing bad eating habits, the same thing works in reverse — diets high in saturated fat and carbohydrates, for example, have been linked to lower sleep quality. Plus, our tolerance for glucose lessens later in the day, so feeing late at night can also throw off our circadian rhythm, the biological sleep-and-wake pattern of humans.
But willpower is hard — and as my colleague Mike Rehahan once told me, it depletes as the working day progress. So, the later it gets, the more tempted we are to indulge in consolation food that we don’t “re going to have to” cook ourselves. After a long, tired day, it’s a recipe — no pun aimed — for disaster. You’re not only more likely to indulge. You also risk depriving yourself of quality sleep, creating a vicious cycle of exhaustion.
Hereas where scheming ahead can tremendously help. When the weekend rolls around, all we really wishes to do is watch Netflix and shop online. But setting aside two hours on Sunday afternoon to cook dinners for the week going to be able to preserve your willpower on those late nights.
2) Sleep isnat in your schedule.
When our days are already so overbooked, it seems ridiculous to schedule something like sleep. But itas called a routine for a reason — asetting a pattern of going to bed at the same day each night and rising at the same time each morning, a according to the CDC, is key to sleeping well.
Last year, I shared a technique I use called day blocking. It’s the formal term for my habit of creating calendar events for everything — get dressed, working out, and feeding my puppy. But when I realized that I was slipping into the bad habit of being liberal with my bedtime, I knew that I would need to schedule time to turn off my electronics, too.
When I asked my team to share the bedtime habits that mess with their productivity, HubSpot Director of Marketing Emma Brudner responded, aFalling into the rabbit pit of the internet for hours.a
Sheas not alone — I have a bad habit of turning a simple search for a carbonara recipe into an hours-long research conference on the culinary art. And when that happens, my desired bedtime falls to the wayside.
That said, too much screen time before has other impacts on sleep quality, which weall discuss subsequently. But scheduling a time to unplug can prevent those evening hours from wasting away. Depending on your bedtime, try programming a recurring calendar event to shut down two hours before you actually wishes to get to sleep for Monday through Wednesday. As it becomes habitual, start adding additional nights.
3) Youare planning your next work day at home.
Iam a big believer in the separation of home and office. Even when I run from home, I have a special space set aside to attend to my chores — every other region is an off-limits , no-work zone.
That achieves two things. First, it helps to keep certain distractions out of sight while Iam working. And when Iam not, having a something like a designated aweekend chaira holds me from checking run email when I should be recharging — as 50% of us are wont to do.
Thatas why I also believe that all work-related tasks, including planning for the next day, should be limited to designated work spaces merely. Thinking about that apparently endless schedule can cause some anxiety, which you donat wishes to bring into a place thatas designated for personal day — especially at a time of day when youare supposed to be gale down.
It might mean staying at the office a bit later, but planning your next day at a designated workspace can help maintain your home and sleeping regions as a stress-free sanctuary. Try it tonight — chances are, youall be glad you left your work at work.
4) Youare putting off morning stuff until the morning.
We know — when else would you do morning things?
But my colleague, Sophia Bernazzani, emphasizes the value of getting certain morning chores done in advance, and she indicates taking a1 5 minutes to lay out your attire, pack your lunch, and prep your coffeea the night before.
If youare not a morning person, she explains, adecision-making abilities are restriction — so you should save them for work.a So, completing these items ahead of period not only gives you the peace of mind of having them done — but also, it frees up a bit of time in the morning to sleep more, work up, or meditate, which is shown to lower stress levels by 31% and increase energy throughout the day by 28%.
5) Youare ignoring your tension.
We have instincts for a reason — weare built to instinctively seek out the things that will help us survive. Those shall be included in Maslowas hierarchy of requires, which includes sleep at its baseline.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
When we ignore our instincts, things start to go haywire because weare essentially fighting biology. And when we ignore our instinct to sleep — by reading “just one more” chapter, or watching “just one more” episode — it can lead to even more tension over the fact that weare losing sleep.
Itas very meta, but emphasizing over a loss of sleep will only induce you less likely to fall asleep, since — say it with me — stress causes sleep loss.
But when you can’t get that stress off your mind, write it down. It constructs sense that journaling before bed has shown to improve sleep quality — it gives your troublesome thoughts somewhere else to alive, a rather than being mentally recycled when youare trying to quiet your mind.
6) Youare looking at screens.
Weare starting to feel a bit like a bunch of violate records with this one — yes, we harp away about ditching the screens before bed. And yet, nearly half of us continue to use our smartphones before bed.
But if youare getting as sick of reading about it as we are of nagging about it, hereas a quick rundown, courtesy of Harvard 😛 TAGEND Blue light is the kind emitted from most electronics. Itas often cited as the culprit for sleep loss, because it sends a signal to your brain that daylight is present. That — like so many of the behaviour weave listed here — causes disorder to your circadian rhythm. When your brain believes thereas daylight, it also thinks itas is high time to wake up , not go to bed.