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The Key to Productivity? Spend the Day Getting Ready for Sleep

From showing the world how stoic you are by putting in so much overtime and working at weekends, the new, smarter way to work is to improve your work/life balance, starting from looking after your sleep.

Are you sleeping on the job? It might be time to reconsider your priorities.

From showing the world how stoic you are by putting in so much overtime and working at weekends, the new, smarter way to work is to improve your work/life balance, starting from looking after your sleep.

Who wants to work with grumpy people ? Would you rather feel tired and irritable or happy and energised ?

A good night's sleep makes us better people

It all starts with good sleep: in an article on productivity, author Annie Ashdown explained that sleep and stress management are crucial to productivity.

Lack of sleep is unfortunately related to a number of health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

A calm state of mind is the perfect environment for good decision-making. We often think that we need to multi-task and work overtime to be productive and gain more from our working day. Don't you think you could achieve better results and complete work at a higher quality in less time if you are starting the day feeling rested ?

A good night's sleep improves memory and learning; when we get tired, we start making mistakes and that affects not only our work performance but also our social interactions.

In other words, a good night's sleep makes us better people. Many complain that their lack of sleep is ruining their life and what makes them have sleepless nights is stress. Their mind is racing and falling asleep is a challenge. One lost night's sleep can have similar effects to having too many units of alcohol. Feeling hangover and lethargic is the unwelcome side-effect of lack of sleep, not to mention feeling quite irritable and short-tempered too.

To challenge that, you need to make the most of your waking hours but not in the traditional sense of achieving as much as possible.

In other words: your waking hours should be geared towards having a good night's sleep.

Sophrology : dynamic relaxation to improve the quality of sleep

What's the solution? Rethink your priorities and start putting the quality of your sleep at the top of your to-do list.

During a day of intense activity at work, instead of allowing your mind and body to be overtaken by stress and end up being unable to wind down, you can choose to carve out 5 minutes of dynamic relaxation techniques 3 times a day, simply sitting at your desk or when you can take a quick break.

Dynamic relaxation techniques can be invaluable to manage your stress rapidly and get a good night's sleep. A technique that has emerged in recent years is Sophrology, which is well-known and widely practised in Continental Europe.

Sophrology is both a stress management technique and a tool for self-development and self-awareness.

Using a series of simple breathing and visualisation exercises, Sophrology can address issues like stress and insomnia by calming down the central nervous system and making you more aware of the signals from your body, ranging from anxiety to stress, and how you can control them.

Sophrology, created by psychiatrist Alfonso Caycedo in the 1950s, focuses on the mind/body connection. You can start noticing some results after one session, but to gain the maximum benefit it is advised to do a daily practice, even a very short one. You can practise Sophrology either sitting down or standing up and you can easily fit a daily session in your schedule as you will only need a few minutes to do it.

The aim of Sophrology is not to mask or ignore your problems but to allow you to observe what is going on in your life, observe your thoughts and feelings and feel more in control. As you start to feel more on top of things as your day goes by, you are less likely to end up in a state of overstimulation at the end of your day.

What can you expect from a regular Sophrology practice? After a week, you may notice that your sleeping patterns have become more regular and that you feel less irritable. After a few months, you will get used to observing your thoughts and feelings and start gaining a sense of perspective and confidence. Not only you will be more focussed and much more productive during the day, but you might start to re-discover the simple joys of life : enjoying a beautiful lanscape, appreciating the beauty of a flower, observing what is around you in a more positive way, restoring a sense of balance between doing and being.

Does it all sound too good to be true ? Fear not, studies have shown that meditation and relaxation techniques can do wonders for your well-being. Meditation techniques can ease various stress-related conditions like anxiety and depression.

How does this fit with productivity? It's very simple: if you feel less anxious, irritable and stressed, you feel more in control of your schedule and your to-do list. You may start feeling energised and refreshed after a good night's sleep and ready to face the day ahead. It only takes a few minutes a day and it's a great investment for long term health.


Sophrologie Tome I, Dr Patrick-André Chéné

Tome II

Sophrologie et gestion du poids, Dr Marie-Andrée Auquier

La relaxation dynamique 1er degré, Dr Patrick-André Chéné