How To Sleep When You Work In Hospo
21st April, 2021 in Sleep
A Good Days Sleep
If we are to hunt around in the rubble of the Covid-19 pandemic for the merest glint of a silver lining, and we look really, really hard, then we might just see the ability to get a good night’s sleep shining back at us.
Hospitality is not an ideal place to work if you’re after a good nights shut eye. We’re used to finishing in the early hours of the morning, having wildly inconsistent shift patterns that vary from week to week, and generally sky-high consumption levels of caffeine and alcohol that disrupt the quality, and quantity of our sleep. With the forced closure of our industry we’ve had the opportunity to get into some sort of routine, where we can go to bed at a fairly consistent time and reconnect with our internal body clock - known as our Circadian Rhythm.
Sleep is a fundamental need for all life on earth, it’s our natural recovery mechanism, and without enough of it, things can get bad, fast.
So how can you ensure that you’re supercharging your sleep despite the challenges of working in hospitality?
Make Sleep A Priority
If you’ve ever met me and we’ve had a conversation about sleep, or you’ve come to one of my talks then you’ll know that this is my #1 tip and it’s always worth repeating. We prioritise time to eat, time to work, time to play and time to exercise, and we need to prioritise at least 8 hours of our day to fulfilling one of most important biological needs.
Temple of Sleep
The bedroom is the room in your house/apartment/flat for 2 things, and 2 things only, and they both begin with S. The more you can do to turn your bedroom into a temple of sleep, the better your sleep will be.
For over 95% of our life on earth we lived outside, at one with nature. Your bedroom should recreate what’s going on outside at night: cool, dark and quiet. Turn down the heating, consider a fan when the weather gets too warm. Make sure you have dark curtains that block out the light, particularly important when you’re trying to sleep through hours of daylight. If you can’t get new curtains, then try sleeping in an eye mask. Our hearing still works while we sleep, an evolutionary defence against potential predators, so if you live in a city, try ear plugs, or get one of those fancy new sleep machines that plays ambient sound such as waves or rainfall.
If you live in shared accommodation, then you have additional challenges as your room might also have to double up as every other room in a regular house, except the bathroom hopefully. If you’re in this situation, then try and be super organised. Put your phone in a drawer when you go to bed, try not to lie on your bed and watch Netflix, and all the other rules still apply.
Invest in Naps
Naps can be your secret weapon when it comes to sleep in hospitality and are used by cultures around the world, just ask the Spanish about their afternoon Siesta! If you’re constantly feeling tired, struggling to get a long enough block of sleep in, then experiment with a late afternoon nap, up to around 30mins, which can help give you an energy boost to get you through your shift. Think of it like a quick battery top-up before you head out.
What you do before you go to sleep has amassive impact on how you sleep.
Cast your mind back to when you were a child, or maybe you have your own children, and you’ll remember the importance of having a bedtime routine to get to sleep. Yet as we grow up we forget and cast aside these routines that were so important to us as children.
Do boring stuff before bed like your laundry and dishes, disconnect from technology and turn off your phone, read a fiction book, take a hot shower before jumping into bed, have a cup of caffeine free tea, write a journal of your day, meditate, or anything else that calms your mind and relaxes you. Remember that sleep requires both the body and mind to be relaxed.
Investing in good sleep is one of the best investments you can make in yourself, and unlike the stock market, it’s 100% risk free, and doesn’t cost you anything.