Going to bed has got to be one of the greatest joys in life. That moment when your head hits the pillow and all the day’s stress just melts away – perfection. But when you’re feeling stressed about something and aren’t getting enough sleep, well, that’s just awful.
Now, new research has revealed the top reasons people give for losing sleep at night – and unsurprisingly lots of them have to do with work. For the study, totaljobs teamed up with psychologist Dr Ian Wallace to ask 2,000 people about their dreams, nightmares and sleeping patterns.
These are the top reasons why people have been losing sleep:
1. I’m worried about my family – 23%
2. I’m worried about paying the bills – 23%
3. I’m feeling stuck in a rut – 18%
4. I’m stressed about work –15%
5. I’m working late – 8%
6. I’m thinking about changing jobs – 5%
And of those people who had nightmares about work, these were the most common things they dreamt about. Incredibly, there was more than one person who dreamt about being killed by their boss.
1. Being late for work – 13%
2. Being sacked – 10%
3. An upcoming project – 8%
4. Showing up to work naked – 8%
5. Interview scenarios – 7%
6. Being killed by their boss – 4%
Psychologist and dreams expert, Dr Ian Wallace, said about the findings: “Dreams and nightmares are how we naturally attempt to resolve the accumulated emotional tension from all the information we unconsciously absorb every day. Most of this tension is generated from encountering conflicts and challenges at work, particularly with colleagues, and so it’s natural that our jobs count for a lot of our dream activity.
“However, the work environments and colleagues we create in our dreams are not those actual places and people, but rather symbols of personal realisation and development.
“For example, dreaming about getting a pay rise or being promoted are subtle ways of recognising untapped talent that is waiting to be brought to the surface. Even a nightmare about being sacked indicates a chance to step out of your comfort zone and make your own career choices. Ironically, this actually demonstrates leadership skills and often results in promotion.”
And Dr Wallace has given some simple tips to help you get a better night’s sleep:
1. Leave work at work
The most powerful way to achieve a better night’s sleep and avoid nightmares about work is simply to make your bedroom a cosy and comfortable place for sleep.
It can be tempting to let your work life intrude into your sleeping haven. It will inevitably lead to poor quality sleep, which in turn will result in poorer quality of work the next day.
So, banish all electronic devices like computers, tablets and phones from your bedroom. Even though you are not using them for work-related activities, these devices will over-stimulate your mind and prevent you from achieving the level of relaxation you really need for a good night’s sleep.
2. Can the coffee
It’s advisable not to drink coffee in the evening, or even late afternoon. You may justify it by declaring that it’s keeping you alert, as you perhaps finish off an important piece of work.
But the reality is, having caffeine in your system will continue to work through into your sleeping time at night. The result? A restless sleep and a greater chance of frequently waking up.
3. Bin the booze
Even though you’ve had a very busy day and are intentionally trying to wind down, it’s better to limit your alcohol intake in the evening. It can be tempting to have a couple of glasses of wine to relax and take the edge off a long hard day.
Alcohol acts as a sedative and can help you get off to sleep, but the effect wears off and it becomes a stimulant as the body processes it. This will cause you to wake up in the early hours, where your mind will inevitably turn to work issues, resulting in restless wakefulness rather than restful sleep.
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