Five Keys To More Effective Sleep
Sometimes I think it’s a colossal waste of time. Spending roughly one third of our very limited lives sleeping, I mean. But nature seems to have made that a necessity. So why not at least make all that time spent virtually unconscious more effective if not productive?
In reality, not getting enough quality sleep has a huge impact on productivity. It’s estimated that it costs U.S. businesses $63 Billion annually. So there’s good reason to start making improvements. Here’s five keys to more effective sleep.
Those Evening Eats . . .
It’s a classic case of garbage in, garbage out. In this case, the garbage out is the poor quality or lack of sleep. The three hours prior to hitting the sack are the most critical. Everyone knows the big one to avoid: caffeine. But there’s a few others to avoid. Nix the spicy or acidic foods. Putting your stomach into preservation mode isn’t going to help your sleep.
And if you’re fond of those nightcaps, it might surprise you to know that while they may cause drowsiness initially, that wears off fairly soon. And that leaves you tossing and turning.
If you must have something close to turning in, make it herbal tea, or a small cup of hot chicken broth.
About “Sleeping on It . . .”
The old saying that you don’t want to decide on something right now, so you’re going to sleep on it, is a huge mistake. Your mind has to be quiet in order for you to get quality sleep. If you really can’t or don’t want to make a decision prior to bed, then decide to put it on hold until tomorrow.
If you’re regularly struggling with an overactive mind when you’d rather be sleeping, here’s a few tricks I’ve tried that actually work:
- Freeze-frame. Your mind is running a movie, sometimes over and over. Push the “pause” key. Just stop the film where it is and find yourself getting bored, just as you would if you were watching a video and it stopped.
- Fade to black. Or any other color. Most of us see one color or another when our eyes are closed. Turn your attention to that color and away from the mind chatter.
- Remember and re-run a recent vivid dream. Pick a pleasant one! Then let the movie of that dream run in a continuous loop.
- Relax. No, I mean really relax. Take notice of your body and consciously relax as many muscles as you can connect to.
And About Sleeping on It
That’s not a typo.
How much care do you take in selecting a seat and getting comfortable for a spell at the desk or an airline flight or a road trip? Have you taken as much care in selecting what you’re laying on all night long?
Technology has brought us a wide variety of new sleeping surfaces and options. There’s bound to be one that makes you feel like Goldilocks – “this one is juusst right.” If you’re still sleeping on that twenty year old slab, check out cloud mattresses at Urban Ladder for one of the latest.
And while you’re considering what’s under you at night, don’t forget the sheets. There’s cotton sheets, bamboo sheets, silk and satin sheets, and more. Which one is best depends on your body and your preferences. Learn what that is, try out the options, and do with the one that, well, just feels yummy!
About Those Cute Little Lights
We live in an age of electronics. I get that. But seriously, why does seemingly everything have those tiny blue lights on it? But no matter whether there is a legitimate reason or not, what’s true is that they disturb our sleep.
Scientific American explains it well:
The light from our devices is “short-wavelength-enriched,” meaning it has a higher concentration of blue light than natural light—and blue light affects levels of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin more than any other wavelength.
And it affects those level in a very negative way. So turn off all the gadgets and gizmos in your sleep area.
The Cycles and The Cycles
When it comes to sleep, cycles are important.
Cycles, as in exercise, or any other type. It’s well known that those who get at least a brisk walk during the day sleep better. Exercise doesn’t just help your waistline or your abs. It’s helps you enjoy better, more sound sleep.
And cycles, as in regularity. Yes, we are creatures of habit. And our body responds well to regular, predictable patterns. So just making a habit of the same daily times for retiring and arising will pay off in better sleep.