Sleep Your Way to Success
Sleep is one of the most undervalued activities by mankind. Many of us consider sleep to be a luxury, rather than seeing it as the necessity that it is. Sleep deprivation causes awful symptoms such as drowsiness, moodiness, stress, weight gain, and losing productivity. That list pretty much summarizes my life whenever I decide to save time sleeping. Maas in his book Power Sleep states that most of us need at least one extra hour of sleep than we get on average, especially as we overestimate the hours of sleep we actually get. Stevenson in his book Sleep Smarter argues that more sleep will improve performance, decision-making, and your health. Maas also states that it contributes to your mood and levels of alertness, creativity, concentration, and resistance. All in all we require sleep to make our dreams reality.
Enough reason to research tips and tricks to improve our quality of sleep. Here’s a short overview of the trips and tricks that I discovered, some more straightforward than others of course.
Meditating in the Morning
By learning to meditate in the morning, you will be able to flip the off switch at night. One of the tips I have read online and found very useful, is to breathe in for six, hold for two, and breathe out for eight seconds five times in a row. Moreover, I try to focus on the black spots I see when I close my eyes and think about these spots only. This always helps me shush my brain.
By creating night-time rituals, you program your body clock the sleep and wake up times and get into these states of mind. My current night-time ritual is to least read my daily stoic, in Ryan Holiday’s newest book. Other than that I make sure that read some pages from one of my new (physical) books, right until my eyes are tired enough to go to sleep. The number of pages I can still read before going to bed are always a dead-giveaway about how fit I am.
Payback Lost Sleep
According to Maas, we need to payback lost sleep as soon as we can. Research states that you are only able to payback at increments of one to two hours a night. To keep our biological rhythm, Maas suggests taking naps or going to bed earlier to maintain an optimal life.
Cut Down on Caffeine
Caffeine has a half-life of 5-8 hours, meaning that you will need to have a caffeine curfew in place in order to optimize your night rest. Stevenson suggests we should have no caffeine later than 2 P.M. to perform well over longer periods of time. Basically caffeine masks your fatigue, borrowing energy that has to be repaid later. By constantly drinking more i.e. coffee, you can’t sleep properly and you grow your sleep debt too. Sounds like a real lose-lose situation.
Sleep Cycle App
My colleagues tipped me about this sleep cycle app for my smartphone. The app tracks your sleep my means of your phone’s microphone. It needs a couple of days to calibrate, but after that you will able to see your quality of sleep for that night based on your sleep cycle graphs. The app is has really made me become much more aware of my quality of sleep and helps me track my progression in adopting all of these tips and tricks. Just the other day, I finally had a night with 98% quality of sleep.
Avoiding screens before bedtime
Last but not least, common knowledge while consciously being ignored, is avoiding screens before bedtime. Yes, we all like to watch series when we get home from work, do some internet shopping, scroll through the endless feeds on facebook, instagram, and pinterest, but it really isn’t contributing to your quality of sleep and thus life. If you have an iPhone, you are in luck. There is now a night shift function that will tint your screen more yellow, so that you are not exposed to as much blue light. However, all that late-night staring at blue screens has been linked to depression as the continuous sleep deprivation puts you at a much greater risk.
Over the past weeks, I have really been trying to work on putting all this new knowledge into my new habits and routines. Overall, I have started to feel happier and perform better. However, these were only baby steps. It is time for the big guns to come out. I will be sleeping my way to a happier and better version of me. Do you plan to use some of these tips? And do you have some tips of your own that we can try out?