If you were able to get more energy out of a few hours of sleep than a full 8-10 hours, you’d do it, right?
Well, the whole “I need 8-10 hours a night” thing is a myth. The human body is built to be fine off of about 4 or 5 hours of sleep, and with a bit of common sense, it’s really not that hard to adapt your own lifestyle to this. You simply have to understand a bit about sleep processes and follow a few simple tips.
If you’re unable to sleep on a regular basis or you find yourself sleeping for more than 10 hours, you might have a serious sleep issue that you should consult your doctor about. If, however, you’re just unable to get a good night’s sleep off of your normal habits, try these tips to get more out of less sleep.
1. Go for deep sleep. The deeper levels of sleep will do a lot more for your energy levels than the lighter, near-consciousness levels of sleep. In order to cultivate these deeper levels, don’t watch TV or read in bed; make sure your bed is designated as a sleeping area. This will teach your body to go into the deeper levels faster.
2. Be on a regular schedule. Your body needs to prepare itself for sleep by lowering its temperature level, and it can do that a lot easier if it knows exactly when you’re planning on sleeping. Try to go to bed within 20-30 minutes of the same time every night, and wake up at the same time every morning.
3. Exercise. By exercising regularly, you’ll get a lot more energy. Exercising in the morning is best, and is likely to give you a much needed boost to keep you active throughout the day.
4. Get some light. Sunlight rids your body of melatonin, the chemical that makes you sleepy (well, more accurately, it inhibits its production). By getting good amounts of sunlight, you’ll notice drastic increases in your energy level. Avoid wearing sunglasses in the morning and evening, as sunglasses can filter out up to 90% of light. Keep your blinds open in your office and home, and consider eating lunch in the park to get as much sunshine as possible. In the winter, as painful as it might be, try to get outside for at least an hour or two (properly bundled up, of course).
5. Get up as soon as you wake up. The longer you stay in bed, the better your chance of going back to sleep, and the better your chance of being exhausted from sleeping too much. Put your alarm clock across the room to force yourself to get up as soon as you can.
The last tip is to just use common sense; don’t be too active at night before you’re planning on going to bed, eat right, and be as healthy as you can and your sleep cycle will eventually start to manage itself.