Don't let your work follow you home after you leave the office.
If you're constantly busy with work projects, assignments, or deadlines, there's a good chance your evening thoughts and activities have everything to do with the work you still need to complete.
Even if your best ideas do come to you outside of the office, thinking too much about work during times of scheduled relaxation will lead to damaging levels of stress. When we think about work late at night, we become anxious, suffer from negative moods, and have trouble sleeping.
According to a 2018 Korn Ferry study, stress causes sleep deprivation for 66 percent of American workers. And with sleep deprivation comes a negative impact on problem-solving capabilities and critical thinking skills you need for work success.
To finally stop thinking about work late at night and get some well-deserved sleep, here's what you should try.
Did you know a mere 30 minutes of aerobic exercise can greatly improve sleep quality and help you fall asleep faster? Decompress the mind with exercise and the work thoughts that keep you awake will become less powerful and less anxiety-inducing.
2. Create an evening list.
Need an effective sleeping aid? Making a to-do list for the next day before bed will help you fall asleep faster, according to researchers at Emory University. Michael Scullin, the lead author of the study, says incomplete tasks go through your mind at a "heightened level of cognitive activation," but writing them down can decrease "cognitive arousal, rumination, and worry."
3. Write it down.
Is the work-related stress you're feeling at night because of conflict or friction in the office? Are office politics getting you down? Write about your experiences in a journal if you would like to sleep peacefully in the evening. Writing down your thoughts and feelings helps you process emotions, effectively reducing levels of anxiety and stress. This is because journaling requires a "greater level of psychological processing." Try writing about positive events or things you are grateful for if you would like to improve your night's sleep further.
4. Eliminate distractions.
Hoping to unwind after work but email is calling your name? Keep your laptop and smart phone out of the bedroom or space designated for relaxing. Checking work email at 2:00 a.m. might not be as productive as you would think. Choose sleep, health, and happiness instead.