Manage Your Sleep
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…