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Use these sleep tips to stay safe and productive at work

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It’s time for America’s workforce to wake up. If you are one of the tens of millions of adults sleeping fewer than seven hours each night — the amount recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) — you are likely jeopardizing performance, increasing accident risks and putting everyone in danger during commutes. Getting enough sleep every night is key to improving productivity, safety and quality of life.

Here are some tips to make sleep work for you.

Don’t burn the midnight oil

Working late nights might impress your boss, but restricting your sleep can lead to trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling emotions and more, severely affecting your productivity at work. The National Safety Council reports that workers who sleep fewer than six hours per night cost employers six days a year in productivity.

Sleep for safety

Workers who sleep less than six hours per night are also at higher risk for injury, according to the Sleep Research Society. Cognitive and motor performance impairments caused by sleep deprivation can be comparable to drinking alcohol. If you make it a daily priority to recognize the signs of fatigue before, during and after work, and refuse to drive drowsy, you can reduce the risk of serious injury for yourself and others. This may be especially true if you work a job that involves manual labor or heavy machinery.

Strategies for non-traditional work hours

Some of the more high-risk professions involve working irregular hours. Shift workers — who can be nurses, law enforcement officers, emergency responders, transportation operators and more — work overnight or early morning hours with irregular or rotating shifts, causing upheaval in the body’s circadian rhythm and natural sleep/wake cycle. According to the AASM, shift workers may sleep up to four fewer hours per night than those working traditional hours, increasing the risk for injuries, accidents and drowsy driving. The CDC reports that serious long-term health problems are a concern, too.

However, there are ways for shift workers to combat this problematic sleep schedule.

Tips for ‘wake time’

* Avoid exposure to sunlight if you need to sleep during the day, and wear sunglasses if you must go outside.

* Use moderate amounts of caffeine in the early part of your shift.

* Use public transportation, rideshare or take a cab, or arrange rides from friends or family after a work shift.

* Take a 20- to 30-minute nap during a work break or before a night shift.

* Get help from a sleep specialist to reinforce your body clock with strategically timed bright light therapy.

Tips for ‘sleep time’

* Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the hours before you go to bed.

* Plan for any major changes in your shift schedule by altering your sleep time a few days in advance.

* Try to keep the same schedule on workdays and days off and create an effective “wind down” routine before going to bed.

* Keep your bedroom at a cool temperature, turn off all electronics and only do relaxing activities like reading or journaling.

Use the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project’s bedtime calculator, which helps you find your ideal bedtime based on when you need to wake up for work — even if that’s in the middle of the night.

Getting at least seven hours of sleep isn’t just a matter of feeling alert for productivity and safety on the job; it’s a necessary component of good health and well-being. If you’re having trouble sleeping, you should talk to your doctor, who may refer you to a board-certified sleep medicine physician at an accredited sleep center for help.

Health & Fitness

Centre and Calm Yourself and Spirit on Restorative Yoga Energy Trail

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Bring oneness to your yoga experience, Landaa-style, with the Yoga Energy Trail at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, an inspiring exploration of self and surroundings against myriad mind-blowing UNESCO Biosphere Reserve viewpoints.

Weaving through the Resort’s jungle interior and dazzling beachfront, guests can opt to explore the trail themselves or join a daily class, guided by the Resort’s yogi. The experience? A 75-minute study of strength, flexibility and endurance – suffused with all the energy-boosting benefits of the tropical surrounds.

Wooden signs at each of the 15 stations guide guests of medium fitness, aged 12 and above, around some of the island’s most scenic vantage points – enabling them to see, feel, smell and hear nature, thus stimulating the senses while challenging the body.

“Each station targets various areas of the body – focusing on balance, strength, agility, flexibility, stretching and toning,” explains Dr. Shylesh Subramanya, Director of The Spa & Ayurvedic Retreat. “The idea is to engage guests in an energetic exploration of themselves via the island’s most inspiring settings: from ‘tree pose’ overlooking the lagoon to ‘sun salutations’ on the jetty to ‘hanging firefly’ beneath the island’s largest Banyan tree.”

Developed in conjunction with the Resort’s Ayurvedic physicians, yogis and recreation team, the trail was designed by Nigel Clark – of UK-based Leisure Logs – a former Olympian who combines his passions for wellbeing and environmentally friendly materials to craft creative, timber wellness trails.

Commenting on the added benefits of the Yoga Energy Trail over a more traditional mat-based approach, Dr. Shylesh said: “Each location triggers a different chemical reaction within the body, from the oxygen-absorbing and seratonin-balancing benefits of the sea breeze to the deeply calming properties of the dense jungle greenery. Practising yoga in this way, immersed in a variety of inspirational locations, guests will feel an enhanced boost of energy and restoration to a naturally connected state, where self and surroundings merge in unifying oneness.”

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Health & Fitness

Meditation on a Full Moon

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Every month, the striking impression of a moon in its illuminated fullness has held a profound space in marking the passage of time as well as in matters of spiritual and religious importance. Many Eastern religions follow ceremonies to coincide with the moon’s phases. The spiritual development of the Buddha, for example, is believed to track with full moon days.  From the fullness of the tides to the deeply held religious beliefs across cultures, the full moon continues to inspire as a time to reflect and receive clarity on internal conditions.

Located among all the exciting happenings in Central, and facing the stunning Victoria Harbour, the Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong offers an authentic and relaxing Full Moon Meditation experience. A natural sanctuary of peace, guests can feel an extra release of tension when entering its soothing environs on full moon days.

Director of Spa Shoshana Weinberg has crafted a unique full moon ritual ideal for newcomers or seasoned practitioners. Weinberg leads the full moon meditations, channeling a universal energy that is both soothing and powerfully healing. The meditation is broken in two parts: one is a guided deep meditation, or savasana, while the other is a seated meditation in silence. Using aromatherapy oils, authentic Tibetan singing bowls, crystals and organic copal, a sacred resin from Mexico, guests can get in touch with a higher sense of focus and consciousness.

Weinberg says, “We call our authentic self to join in ceremony with others in our community to illuminate the deep meanings and messages that life has to offer. The Full Moon Meditation is a safe place to find a quiet moment to discover the silent world that lives in all of us.”

Guests wishing to extend the sense of community are invited to linger over a delicious spread from Executive Chef Andrea Accordi. Chef Accordi tailors dishes to the theme of the full moon and the rhythms of the seasons sourcing the highest quality ingredients from the most trusted, sustainably suppliers.

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Health & Fitness

Don’t have time to walk and meditate? Try them together

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The mental and physical merits of walking are well established, from helping ward off depression to preventing heart disease. Meditation, likewise, can help reduce anxiety symptoms and improve sleep quality. Have you considered combining these seemingly very different activities?

Walking meditation, which doesn’t take much of an investment in time or money, can be a good way to reap multiple benefits.

Walking meditation isn’t a stroll in the park or an hour in the lotus position, rather something in between. The goal is to be self-focused and mindful of your body in motion. To get started, consider these steps from UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center:

* Find a place that’s relatively free of distractions and where other people won’t make you self-conscious. Your path — whether it’s a hiking trail or a little-used hallway — doesn’t have to be long; the whole point is to go nowhere, slowly — and safely.

* Relax your hands and arms, stand up straight and take a few deep breaths. Take 10 to 15 small, deliberate steps, counting them in your head. Be mindful of the way your feet feel as they rise and land on the ground, weight shifting from heel to toes.

* If your mind wanders, try to push out extraneous thoughts and focus on your breathing or the sights and sounds of your surroundings.

* Pause for a breath, turn around and start again.

Why meditate in the first place? Meditation may help cancer patients by relieving their stress and fatigue. It may reduce blood pressure and alleviate some symptoms of menopause and IBS. There is also evidence that it improves the quality of life for female patients struggling with fibromyalgia by helping them deal with depression and conflict, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Meditation can be good for people of all ages. A Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease study found that meditation may help slow the cognitive decline that leads to Alzheimer’s and dementia. When college students added meditation to walking, they had lower levels of anxiety than when they merely walked for exercise, according to a study in the American Journal of Health Promotion.

As you take a moment to slow down and practice walking meditation, keep in mind that the results can also be slow. Studies have shown benefits after as little as 10 minutes per session, but most were based on practicing four to six days per week for several weeks.

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