Manage Your Sleep

January 12th, 2007 (30,316 views) by Pinny Cohen

Do you sleep enough? Chances are you don’t. It’s probably related to one of the following:

Uncomfortable bed, kids, work, friends and lastly (you guessed it) Internet.

While we read on a regular basis that people are supposed to get 8 hours of sleep or even more, some recent research shows just the opposite. It is well known that adults need less sleep than children, but no one was advocating cutting your sleep.

“people who get only 6 to 7 hours a night have a lower death rate than those who get 8 hours of sleep.”

According to a University of California study of more than one million adults showed that “people who get only 6 to 7 hours a night have a lower death rate than those who get 8 hours of sleep.” Those who sleep 6 to 7 hours a night also tend to earn more money and be more successful. (LiveScience.com)

Clearly there are some major advantages to sleeping just the right amount for your body to replenish, but not so long that you are wasting time. So let us take a look at the steps to managing your sleep better.

Step 1: Figure out your sleep needs

The first step to managing your sleep is to find a day where you don’t need to get up at a certain time and go to sleep around 10 to 11 PM. Turn off any alarm clocks you may have setup, and go to sleep. When you wake up, log the time. Supposing you didn’t have an extraordinarily long day this should be your “real sleep need”, or the true amount you need to sleep to be replenished.

Step 2: Clear your mind

Usually, your day is so hectic that everything is a rush up to the point when your head hits the pillow. The problem with this is that you never really have the time to think about anything other than your immediate need to get something done. When you lie down, your mind starts racing (I call this a “brain recess”) and thinking about your wishes, dreams, hopes, and aspirations…and thats just in addition to all the things you need to get done the next day. All of these are great, just not when you are trying to fall asleep.

I keep a pad of paper by my bed and write down anything that pops into my head before I lie down. This way, I know I will be able to think about it tomorrow, instead of worrying about it at night.

Step 3: Get some high tech bedding

For years I had back pain which prevented me from getting the quality of sleep I wanted, and I wondered if I would ever find a way to get the type of sleep that you recall having as a child. For a few years I saw the Tempur-Pedic NASA technology foam bed ads, which I dismissed as too expensive and as possibly not all it’s cracked up to be (a quick forum search on google was enough), but eventually my pain won over my street smarts. I ordered a Tempur-pedic bed about a year and a half ago, and I’ve never looked back. No matter how I fall onto the bed, I wake up refreshed, and not wondering if my arm will come back to life, or if my neck will straighten out.

Step 4: Hydrate yourself

If you are like most people in the USA, chances are your home uses some type of forced- air heating or cooling. This tends to make you get really dehydrated while you sleep, and often gives you that headache right in the morning or right before you sleep. I find a good way to avoid it is by hydrating yourself. A good cup or two of water before you sleep and right when you wake up is usually all it will take.

Step 5: Go to the bathroom

Alright, you got me, I couldn’t resist making this the next step. It’s a good idea to take a leak right before you go to sleep- you are clearing out toxins as well as preparing your bladder for a long sleep. Think of it this way, when you really have to go, can you think of anything else?

Step 6: Sleep on your back

Aside from the health benefits of sleeping on your back (I’ll discuss this in a future post), sleeping on your back prevents you from moving around too much at night, and keeps your nasal passages clear (less snoring). It also is very relaxing to just imagine you are doing a dead-man’s float in your bed.

Step 7: Hypnotize Yourself

I once met a hypnotist who explained to me the secret of great sleep. He told me that the best way to fall asleep was to hypnotize your whole body into a deep relaxation. Well, I never really bought into hypnotism before that, but I figured that it couldn’t hurt (and I wouldn’t appear foolish) if I tried it out on myself before sleeping. The results were fantastic, and I felt weightless. Remind me at some point to discuss the technique.

Well, I was thinking of writing a few more steps to better management of your sleep, but looking at the 1:26AM on the clock now, I’m actually missing out on my own sleep…

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12 Responses to “Manage Your Sleep”

  1. baumdexterous Says:

    Hey thanks for the entry! Could you please share how to hypnotize yourself to better sleep?

  2. pinnycohen Says:

    Yes, It has several steps, so I’d like to wait until I can devote some time to a proper writeup. Please add my RSS feed so you can stay up to date. Glad you enjoyed!

  3. Life of an Internet Entrepreneur » Blog Archive » The Cost Of Entertainment Says:

    [...] We have a need for Food, without which we wouldn’t get any nourishment or energy.  We have a need for Water, which makes up to 70% of our bodies. We have a need for Sleep in order for our bodies to recharge and heal.  Lastly, we have a need for Shelter, which protects us from the elements and predators.  There is no way around these needs, and these are, for all practical purposes, required costs of living, or, for those of us in the business world, “A cost of doing business”.  [...]

  4. Florian Says:

    Hi,
    I found your blog via google by accident and have to admit that youve a really interesting blog :-)
    Just saved your feed in my reader, have a nice day :)

  5. Life of an Internet Entrepreneur » Blog Archive » Hypnotize Yourself For Quick Sleep Says:

    [...] In a previous post, I explained how to manage your sleep.  The seventh step I discussed was hypnotizing yourself into a deep relaxed state to be able to enjoy your sleep, and in this post I will discuss the method for doing so. [...]

  6. Sleep Disorders Guide Says:

    Hi Pinnycohen,
    Thanks for visiting our site and even for providing information… Keep visiting for regular updates

  7. Megan Says:

    Good stuff. I wonder, though: Is the 6 -7 night’s sleep causal to the higher earnings and lower death rates? Or could it be simply an effect?

  8. Pinny Cohen Says:

    @Megan: There are a few possibilities:
    1) The 6-7 hours of sleep is exactly enough, so if you sleep more you aren’t as productive as they are.
    2) Sleeping more may actually directly control your death rate.
    3) Higher earnings may give you the luxury of sleeping less (through your theoretical ability to have better nutrition, mental health, etc.).

  9. J. Lynne Says:

    I came here by way of a LifeHacker post on waking up ironically.

    I have fibromyalgia and my doctors recommend I get 10 hours sleep which is extremely difficult during the week, especially since I also suffer from chronic insomnia, which only increases the fatigue.

    I can’t seem to sleep comfortably on my back; apparently I have a slight curvature to my back which no one caught when I was in elementary school because of all the switching in 5th and 6th grade. This has caused me to be constantly questing for the perfect pillow, something that will support my neck whether I’m lying on my side or back because when I’m lying down it always feels a bit quirked, which often leads to migraines.

    And I’ve tried Tempur-pedic pillows and a rather thick mattress pad — I haven’t checked to see if they make a mattress for a platform bed. However, neither of those things have helped. They just feel like foam to me.

    I do think I need to drink more water though and I have a real hard time clearing my mind. I’ve tried that writing it down thing, but all that does for me is make room for more things to pop in my head. ;)

    I have this nagging suspicion that if I could get one or two of the health issues worked out like the insomnia or the balanced diet, then every thing else will work itself out.

  10. Pinny Cohen Says:

    J. Lynne,

    A mattress pad and a real tempur-pedic are very different (I compared the two before buying), you should try out a real one.

    The balanced diet should really help, it’s amazing what eating properly can do to how you feel each day.

  11. sherifa Says:

    Thank you very much! I have learned some more tricks to manage my sleep which means managing my day:)

  12. Kaleem Says:

    That was maybe something i was looking for.
    But to be more specific, i am a student and its really hard for me to wake up early even if i keep the alarms ON.
    Maybe its because of the Air Conditioner, or maybe its because of the diet.
    Please suggest me how i can manage my sleeping cycles and not wake up realizing that i missed my class!

    I really benefited from this article!

    Regards

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