It’s midnight. You’ve been on the computer for the last 4 hours editing that family photography session from the weekend that you promised you would have to them in time for their great-grandmother’s birthday on Saturday. You are completely exhausted, but at the same time sleep is evading you. Sound familiar?
It’s the old ‘hours in front of a bright screen’ problem. Your brain and your body think it’s daytime, but you also know you have to be up in less than 6 hours and you need to get to sleep now. We get it. And we have been there many time! So, we searched for some tried and tested ways to switch off after you switch off, and here they are…
It might sound simple, but when you’ve been sitting still at a computer screen for hours on end, a great stretch does wonders for the body. The stretching resets your body, gives your mind a few moments to switch off and focus on the movements and might even help when your back and neck are reaching breaking point. Try something easy like reaching for your toes and reaching for the sky. And if you have any yoga experience, a few minutes stretching and relaxing in child’s pose is guaranteed to help you switch off!
take a warm shower
The power of water cannot be underestimated! Scientifically, the warm water not only physically relaxes your body, but the decrease in body temperature that you experience when you get out of a shower is exactly the same as the temperature shift your body makes as it gets ready for sleep. Why not help things along a little?
Meditation is well known to assist people with relaxing, focusing and in turn creating a mind set that allows for an easier transition to and a more restful nights sleep. Spend some time during the day meditating (here at Style Pose Click we love the Headspace app, but there is loads of great helpful apps out there) and then put the meditation skills you learn into practice at night when its time to hit the pillow. Plus, as a result, you get the added bonus of being more productive in work hours too- yay!
Say it with me… ‘in through your nose, out through your mouth’. Five minutes lying in bed whilst focusing on deep circular breathing will have you nodding off in no time. Start by laying completely flat and breathing in for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds and then out for 8 seconds. Continue this breathing pattern, repeating the 4 in, 7 hold, 8 out over and over. We gave this one a go and were so surprised at how quickly it works! Five minutes of concentrating on counting and expanding your lungs is the perfect way to de-stress (you can even try this at other times of the day).
pick up a book
Just a couple of minutes of some light reading of a book or magazine can help your brain relax and is classed as a low-stimulus activity. It’s just enough to let your brain to slowly transition from work mode into sleep mode, without being too intense. Ah yes… feel the wind down!
leave your phone in the kitchen
It’s tempting even at the witching hour to crawl into bed with your phone in your hand and before you know it you are scrolling Facebook and replying to emails. Stop. This one requires a LOT of discipline if it’s a habit you have gotten into. But if you commit to it, it really makes a huge difference. The light that your phone emits actually suppresses melatonin (the hormone essential for sleep!). Leave your phone in the kitchen overnight so you aren’t tempted to continue the technology binge. ‘Oh, but I need my phone in my room for the alarm to wake up!’. Fine, but leave it out of your reach– i.e. drop it beside your door as you walk in the room. Your body will thank you at 6am!
switch on do not disturb mode
Okay so maybe you just can’t leave your phone in the kitchen for whatever reason. But you can switch on ‘do not disturb’ mode on your iPhone (and iPad). This nifty feature allows you to pop your phone into a mode that stops it ringing or buzzing or vibrating with every phone call, email or message. Simply swipe up from the home screen (or swipe down if you are using Android) and click on the do not disturb icon- it’s the little crescent moon. You can even pop into Home > Settings > Do not Disturb and personalise it so the do not disturb switches on at a certain time and off in the morning. Goodbye temptation to pick up your phone every time it makes a sound!
other sleep tips
Of course, there is a handful of other things you can do to make switching off later easier too; physical exercise during the day, avoid caffeine at night, sip some camomile or sleep easy tea in the half an hour before you head to bed, rub some lavender calming essential oil on your wrists before bed or even a few drops of Rescue Remedy under the tongue at bed time. It’s worth it for a great nights sleep!
Do you have any late-night bedtime rituals that help you relax get to sleep easily after hours on the computer? We would love to hear about them- comment below!