Every morning, you slam the snooze button and ask yourself how badly you want your job. As you stand bleary-eyed in front of your coffee maker or in your favorite coffee shop, you think about how long your day will be and decide to make your drink extra strong. By noon, you’re fantasizing about the nap you’ll take when you get home.
If you’re a millennial, there’s an excellent chance you’ll relate. Millennials top the charts in sleep deprivation and sleep disorders, and also lead the charts in stress.
The nature of modern technology and modern schedules have put millennials in a unique position, one that demands a lot, resulting in a decrease in quality of sleep hygiene. Our 21st century world has put us in a position to be more productive than ever, but it’s ruined our ability to be able to turn life off.
Work follows you home in emails that you can check on your phone. Your personal life follows you at work where you’re always accessible via a multitude of online platforms.
Although the demands of a millennial may be intense, a few tips and techniques may help reduce stress and alleviate sleep deprivation, helping you get your life in order and making your morning wake-up call a little easier to respond to.
The biggest source of stress for a millennial looking to relax in the evening is technology. Although we’re accustomed to incorporating late-night Netflix watching into our schedules and keeping our phones by our beds, these habits actively prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. Screens emit bright lights that mimic daylight and disrupt your circadian rhythmic cycles.
Some of the lighting from screens can be addressed. The latest iPhone iOS includes a lighting feature that makes your phone screen warmer, decreasing the harsh effects of cool light. And F.lux is a program you can download to change your computer lighting to a warmer, more night-friendly setting.
However, neither of these address the stress that can come with using technology at night. Along with lighting, our phones, which keep us connected to the Internet 24/7, are a source of aggravation because of the need to stay in touch with everyone right down to the final seconds of your day.
Putting your phone down at least an hour before bed will help you get some decent shut-eye. If you have an iPhone, you can turn off all notifications until a certain time in the morning to avoid distractions while still allowing for emergency calls or for certain contacts to get through to you.
Although ideally work would finish once you leave the office, millennials know that nowadays, refusing to make yourself available outside of the standard 9-to-5 hours can make you look lazy or unaccommodating to an employer, and can hold back an entire team.
However, even the most burdensome of employers can understand an evening cut-off date. Select a time to finish all correspondence for the night, at least an hour before bed. A decent time is 7 or 8 p.m. After that, step away from the computer and don’t check your email on your phone. And also make sure you don’t sneak in any extra coffee at this time. That fuel that got you through the day can keep you wide awake on your mattress long into the early hours.
Millennials have other bad habits that keep us sleep deprived, too. Weekend late nights are a staple of our culture, and offer a chance to let loose the way we can’t during the week.
But even if there’s no work to do that day, messing up your sleep schedule two or three out of seven nights a week will never allow you to achieve a sustainable sleep cycle.
Even on the weekend, it’s important to maintain a regular sleep schedule and go to bed at a decent time.
Binging on caffeine during the day, even as an attempt to keep yourself awake, is also a mistake. Caffeinated drinks need a cut-off time just like technology, or you risk being unable to fall asleep. 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. should be the latest time for a coffee break, and caffeinated drinks should be carefully avoided or minimized after that time.
At the end of the day, a lack of sleep has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to have widespread negative effects on performance, mental health, physical health, and personal capability. Prioritizing your health means giving yourself the time you need to be properly rested.