26 Apr Thriving from Home During COVID-19 Quarantine: Routines for Better Sleep
In this third and final installment of our advice for thriving during the coronavirus outbreak Holistic Nutritionist and Corporate Wellness Consultant Jennifer Hanway details her top tips on how building a healthy afternoon and evening routine can achieve better sleep.
Beat the Mid Afternoon Slump
We all know that feeling too well, 3pm comes around and we start to feel tired and lethargic. What do we do? Reach for another cup of coffee and/or a sugary treat. But caffeine and sugar will spike your stress hormones, stop you from falling asleep, and raise your blood sugar levels. This leads to an energy spike and then crash (not to mention the fat storage caused by the spike in insulin).
The average half life of caffeine is 5 hours, however it can take some people 9.5 hours to clear caffeine from their system! This means that if you have a cup of coffee in the afternoon, the caffeine will still be having a stimulatory effect by the time you are going to bed. If you feel sleepy in the evenings but wake up as soon as your head hits the pillow then move your caffeine curfew back 30 minutes at a time until your sleep improves.
Great alternatives for beating the afternoon slump include:
- Switching your afternoon coffee for a matcha latte. Whilst this still contains caffeine it is a smaller amount and contains L-theanine, an amino acid that has stress relieving properties. See my favorite matcha latte recipe here.
- Getting out in daylight and moving your body. As discussed in my post on best morning routines for health light and movement are key regulators for our sleep/wake cycle. Pop in your ear pods and take your calls whilst walking around the block, or simply get up from your desk, stretch, and walk around the house for five minutes.
- Eat a blood sugar stabilizing mini meal or bridge snack. Boost your energy with a combo of protein, veggies and fat such as a small breakfast smoothie, plant-based yoghurt, berries and seeds, or hummus and veggie sticks.
- Rehydrate. Hungry? Drink a glass of water. Tired? Drink a glass of water. Can’t concentrate? Drink a glass of water. You catch my drift.
Create a Transition Routine From Work to Home
Even before the COVID-19 Quarantine I recommended that my clients developed a transition sequence that would switch off ‘work mode’, and put them in ‘home mode’. Finish your closing work tasks, then do something that signifies the transition. This could be changing your clothes, taking the dog for a walk or drinking a relaxing herbal tea, or taking some CBD oil. My transition routine? Listening to True Crime Podcasts!
Healthy Family Dinner Ideas
Many of my clients are struggling with work/life balance right now, and the last thing they want to do is cook 5 different meals for the whole family. So I encourage them to take recipes from my Lean and Clean Online Program such as Turkey Chili, or ‘Tim’Burgers, make enough for the whole family, and add extra clean carbs such as sweet potato wedges or quinoa for family members not following a low carb diet. Or try my Sweet Potato Turkey Shepherd’s Pie which is a family favorite with my clients!
Always make extra portions that you can put in the fridge or freezer for when time is tight, and don’t forget that prepared foods are different from processed foods. Prepared foods closely resemble how they look in nature (think rotisserie chicken, salmon fillets, roasted veggies, pre-prepared salads, hummus, guacamole, salsa, etc). These are two things that I do all the time, as I simply do not have time to cook every meal from scratch.
Evening Routines For Better Sleep
Whilst in Part 2 of this series I talk about the importance of morning routines for better sleep, our evening routines are just as important. We know to limit screen time 2 hours before we go to bed (or at least wear our blue blocking glasses), but our evening routine best prepares us both physically and mentally a night of great sleep, in just the same way our morning routine does. Here are some ideas for your evening routine:
- Journal or gratitude practice
- Calming meditation
- Gentle stretching or yoga
- Foam rolling
- Using a sleep induction or acupressure mat
- Taking a hot bath
- Reading fiction
Create a Sleep Sanctuary
My late mentor, Charles Poliquin once told me to ‘sleep in a bat cave’, and by this he meant a cold, dark room! We have no TV in the bedroom, we never take our laptops in there, and the only concession to a screen in this room is my Kindle, which I can’t live without. Our bedroom is clean, calm and decorated in neutral colors, and we really do think of it as our sleep sanctuary. And my bedtime is consistent 7 days a week, just like my wake-up time, as consistency is key for healthy sleep.
We use black out blinds, and cover any LED lights with black tape. Whilst we do use eye masks, our skin has photoreceptors which can detect light, so we keep it as dark as possible. We also turn our heat down to 57 degrees (you should sleep anywhere between 57 and 67 degrees), and use our chiliPAD to keep our bodies cool whilst sleep, as cooler temperatures promote deeper, more healing sleep.
Book our ‘Thriving From Home During COVID-19 Quarantine’ Corporate Wellness Webinar developed by Corporate Wellness Consultants Tim and Jennifer Hanway (or any or our employee wellness workshops) and receive a FREE Zoom workout for your team! For more information on how to book this or any or our Corporate Wellness workshops please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more: Tips on How to Optimize Productivity and Performance during COVID-19 from Boston based Performance Coach Tim Hanway.