Twelve women sat in a circle after a weekend focused on developing the character that will yield the most success in our lives. The number one strategy women want to work on: wellness.

Workplace wellness statistics agree that employee wellness improves behavior, reduces elevated health risks and health care costs, improves productivity and decreases absenteeism. This information comes from an article in WellSteps by Dr. Steve Aldana. Dr. Aldana’s research explains that “the cost associated with presenteeism due to poor employee health is at least 2 to 3 times greater than direct health care expenses.

Heath care costs are a significant priority for the company bottom line. It’s also a significant priority for the life of the employee.

What company executive would hire a high-performing employee with the agreement that they will give a full 60% effort? That is basically what it boils down to when we leave wellness on the back burner. The facts show that overall wellness contributes to brain health, as stated in the April 22 Thrive article Five Strategies will Unlock Your Mental Clarity and Creativity at Work. This correlates with a Best in Corporate Health article on Cognitive Functioning for Increased Productivity.

The article lists many more than five factors that influence cognitive health, but this is the first in a series of Thrive articles focusing on those five areas that unlock the power of your brain, starting with sleep.

Here are five strategies to improve your sleep:

Limit screen time within two hours of bedtime.

Any screen that does not have a blue light protector will stimulate your brain – the opposite of what you need for a restful night’s sleep. You might be tempted to say, “That doesn’t apply to me. I can watch T.V. until 11 and sleep all night.” But how restful is your sleep? What’s the harm in trying this for one week to see if you wake up more rested.

Don’t drink caffeine after noon.

I have friend who says she can drink coffee all night and still sleep like a baby. Try to limit your caffeine for a week and note the difference in your energy in the morning.

Don’t drink anything after 7 p.m.

Huh? Yep. If you get your daily requirement of water during daylight hours you won’t need to cram it in at night. When you drink fluids at night, you increase the risk that you’ll have to disturb your sleep to go to the bathroom at night. If you’re like many, that wakes up the monkeys in your head and the chatter keeps you from falling asleep.

Use a natural sleep aid.

I often say sleep at any cost, even if you need to use a sleep aid, but keep in mind that some of those off the counter drugs will give you a hangover. I don’t take the strong stuff unless I have time to sleep in…and maybe take a nap the next day. Melatonin is a bit gentler on your system. Chamomile tea is a good option too, but drink it after dinner, not too close to bedtime.

Gratitude, the any-time brain medicine.

Anxiety cannot co-exist in the presence of gratitude. Try it. Feel anxious? List out loud all the things you’re grateful for. Can’t quiet the monkeys in our head at night, start your gratitude list (quietly if you share a bed). You’ll wake up in the morning amazed at how quickly you fell asleep.

Stop using excuses for why you can’t sleep and put some strategies in place to provide the best environment for your brain to function. It will be fun to watch what happens when your super powers take off.


  • Donna Carlson

    Women's Leadership & Life Strategy Coach

    360º Life Strategies

    Women comprise 56% of the workforce but so many of us don't ask for what we want. Why is that? After a 30 year career accepting second best, living like a race horse held behind the start gate, Donna Carlson changed her strategy from being a thermometer - reflecting the mores of the world around her - to being a thermostat. Now Donna coaches women to own their personal style and leadership power.