Lack of sleep is an epidemic among millennials. Too much screen time, combined with long work hours and the stress of living paycheque to paycheque can wreak havoc on our daily lives, not to mention our REM cycles.
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The result? Millennials are shaping up to be the most sleepless generation so far.
Even worse, we try to remedy our lack of sleep by praying to the caffeine gods, or embracing the “night owl” image, which only further messes up our body clock.
If you’re feeling exhausted, overworked and overwhelmed, try incorporating these five rituals in your daily routine. We promise they’ll have you feeling more productive, accomplished and ready for the day ahead.
1. Shut Your Devices Down
Millennials are addicted to their mobile devices. We check them before we go to bed; we check them first thing when we wake up. About 67 per cent of smartphone owners check their phone even when it isn’t ringing or buzzing, according to the Pew Research Center. This constant checking in promotes stress and anxiety, and can lead to fear of missing out (a.k.a. FoMo). Instead of hanging out with your phone, laptop or TV at night, unplug and turn off all your devices a full half hour before bed — and don’t check them for the first half hour you wake up in the morning, either. At bedtime, put your phone away and tuck yourself in with a good book or listen to music before drifting off to sleep. In the morning, enjoy a longer shower, make coffee or drink a cup of lemon water before glancing at your phone. Putting technology aside right before, and right after sleeping will get you more in tune with yourself and help you inadvertently destress.
Meditating doesn’t require sitting for an hour in lotus position while murmuring, “ahhmm.” Meditation is great for relieving stress, improving self-control, and centring yourself. Take 10 to 15 minutes a day to sit in a peaceful spot and gather your thoughts. Master a simple breathing technique, and let all your thoughts flow in and out of you. Studies have shown that regular meditation can lead to better decision making, satisfaction, increased happiness and productivity.
3. Exercise (Duh)
Working out regularly has numerous benefits to our mental and physical health, longevity, productivity and mood. You don’t need a fancy training program to get started either; keep it simple, pick something you enjoy and do it regularly. Weightlifting, cycling, Pilates, dancing, yoga – it can be anything, so long as it doesn’t feel like work to you. Regular exercise promotes blood sugar regulation, which makes you feel more energized and more productive. One study found that a single exercise session reduced the amount of time it took for people to fall asleep and increased the length of sleep, compared to those who did not exercise.
4. Go Green
Dark, green, leafy vegetables like kale and spinach are magnificent for your health because they are natural antioxidant-rich foods. It’s not always easy to squeeze these superfoods into our diets, so why not blend them into a healthy breakfast smoothie? Not only will keep you feeling full through your morning, carrying you to lunch, but it’s a great way to get those greens in early.
5. Plan Your Day
Instead of being reactive and waiting to see what life brings you, be proactive. Create circumstances on your own and plan your day ahead. Know what you want to achieve on a particular day, define your goals and don’t let others lead you off track. If possible, turn off email notifications and programs during the day, stop checking them constantly, and respond only to what is urgent.
By simply unplugging, exercising regularly, mediating, eating lots of green vegetables, and creating daily plan, you’ll feel less tired and less overwhelmed — and sleep more soundly, too.