What you do at work is having a huge impact on your sleep
LITTLE things we do at work can have a dramatic impact on the way we sleep, experts say in a push to improve health and productivity in Warwick workplaces.
How much time we spend at a computer, when we check our mobile phones and how stressed we feel at work are all factors that determine the quality of our sleep, Warwick sleep scientist Bel du Bois said.
On World Sleep Day, Ms du Bois is pushing for better sleep hygiene among Warwick residents.
"Most of us are sleep deprived and it's not just about what happens at night," she said.
"Our body clock is really sensitive to what we do during the whole day."
She said one of the biggest problems was the amount of blue light we are exposed to through screens.
According to Harvard Health, blue light wavelengths are beneficial during daylight hours because they boost attention, reaction times and mood.
But at night, blue light is very disruptive.
"The brain recognises this as daylight and that disrupts the whole concept of sleep," Ms du Boi said.
"Quite often we take a screen to bed and even kids are given iPads to go to bed."
Ms du Bois said it was common for busy people to take work into the bedroom and that could also have an impact on sleep quality.
"If you're stressed at work then your brain starts to associate the bedroom with stress and that affects your sleep," she said.
"Screens in the bedroom are a big no-no."
The impact of poor quality sleep, according to Ms du Bois, can range from fatigue, stress, relationship problems and reduced productivity at work.
Improving sleep quality is one of the key areas Ms du Bois and mental health social worker Kathryn Walton will focus on in a series of workshops aimed at boosting workplace mental health in Warwick.
10 commandments of sleep hygiene for adults
1. Establish a regular bedtime and waking time.
2. If you are in the habit of taking siestas, do not exceed 45 minutes of daytime sleep.
3. Avoid excessive alcohol ingestion four hours before bedtime and do not smoke.
4. Avoid caffeine six hours before bedtime. This includes coffee, tea and many sodas as well as chocolate.
5. Avoid heavy, spicy or sugary foods four hours before bedtime. A light snack before bed is acceptable.
6. Exercise regularly, but not right before bed.
7. Use comfortable, inviting bedding.
8. Find a comfortable sleep temperature setting and keep the room well ventilated.
9. Block out all distracting noise and eliminate as much light as possible.
10. Reserve your bed for sleep and sex, avoiding its use for work or general recreation.