Do you have a good sleep habit? Do you know how to sleep better?
Many people don't have a good sleep habit, they are either lacking of sleep or sleeping too much, they don't know what's the right time for them to sleep, and to wake up.
Successful people always have their unique sleep habit that helps them to be more productive, smart and energetic than others. What is their secret? I don't have to explain that your sleep condition will affect your daily performance, it is obvious.
If you want to improve your productivity, be smarter, even better looks, it's essential to learn how to sleep better in the right way.
Lack of sleep
Most people don't work hard to get better sleep because they don't think sleep deprivation is a problem, if it's lack of sleep, just sleep longer the next day. But they neglect the potential risks of sleep debt.
Sleep debt is a cumulative issue and you are hardly to notice your performance declines. Below are the influences if you lack of sleep. (They are not the complete list, I just list out the common and significant influences, and you can find related researches and studies at sources part below this article.)
Lack of sleep make you ravenous According to the research, lack of sleep will make you ravenous, because your appetite will improve to consume more food for energy to fill up the energy that supposed regain from sleep. Consume food overly can lead to gain weight and get out shape.
Makes it harder to exercise Lack of sleep = lack of energy
When you don't have enough energy to exercise, you tend to lose the motivation of that particular day to workout. And if you keep this for a long time, you will start to lose the momentum to workout. This is critical to your muscle building and weight losing plan. You are not only lose the ability to lose wight, chances are you will also fail to maintain your current weight.
Lack of sleep sets up a vicious cycle of lack of energy to exercise and this makes you a poorer sleep to recover your energy.
Lack of energy> No workout> Fatter > Poorer sleep > lack of energy >...
Dramatically increases your risk of obesity, kidney, and heart disease Sleep deprivation will cause you a lot of lifestyle diseases such as obesity, kidney, and heart disease.
Make you less discerning If you lack of sleep, you will become less discern about things around you because your eyes lose the ability to focus on things for a long time. This is important because if you can't discern things happen to you you are putting yourself at danger. For example, when you are driving at night, sleep deprivation is dangerous.
Decreases cognitive function & memory What we learn during the day is processed, integrated and stored when we sleep at night. So if you have poor sleep, your brain can't help you to form memories. It's not only make you can't remember things, but also make you slow to understand and analyze new information.
Affect your mood Your sleep quality affects your mood. Did you ever have a poor sleep and then later you wake up miserably? The effects can be cumulative, your mood will become unstable due to sleep debt.
Benefits of sleep
Sleep better has a lot of benefits. The benefits are not limited to what I listed here, but they are matters.
Boost your athletic performance Good athletic performance needs energy and energetic spirit. And we all know appearance is a consequence of fitness. This is one of the areas you can improve your attractiveness to women.
Plays a huge role in muscle and cellular regeneration If you want to get fit, then have quality sleep. Sleep will trigger the release of human growth hormone (HGH), which helps in building muscles and improve metabolism.
Enhance your memory performance During deep sleep your brain will clear out irrelevant information during the day and connect the experiences of the last 24 hours to your previous experiences, this forms memories for you. The sleep quality decides how long your memories store in your brain.
Increase your attention You can pay more attention when you have more energy, you can discern things and remember them easily. This one is a huge advantage for you if you can notice things fast and remember them immediately.
Creative problem solving skills Enough of sleep will activate your brain in order that your mind can run rapidly and smoothly. A computer with a fast processor surely will perform better than a slow one.
Increase your productivity When you are fit, energetic, creative, smart and have good memories, you naturally will become more productive in your life (unless you are using wrong method for doing something). Productivity is critical to best use of your time and it plays a huge role in your journey to success.
The sleep cycle
The quality of your sleep is determined by a process called the sleep cycle. Watch the video below.
The sleep cycle divided into two parts: Non-Rapid Eye Movement Sleep and Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Sleep.
The cycle runs like this:
Non-REM sleep stage 1: 5-10 minutes. Non-REM sleep stage 2: 20 minutes or so. Non-REM sleep stage 3 and 4: Each can last up to 30 minutes REM Sleep: Takes about 90 minutes to get to REM sleep.
In video it's not saying that everyone sleep walks, it just stated that sleepwalking can happen in stage 4. Before entering into REM sleep, your body goes from stage 2, 3, 4, back to stage 4, 3, 2 and goes again to stage 2, 3, 4, then finally onto REM sleep.
Your quality of your sleep is not dependent on how long did you sleep, it is not dependent on total REM duration either. It is dependent on the ratio of REM-to-total sleep. Non-REM sleep helps you recover physically while REM sleep helps you recover mentally. During Non-REM sleep your body is restoring energy and repairing; during REM your brain is analyzing and reorganizing information, that's when your brain dreams.
Higher percentage the REM sleep in your total sleep time, the higher quality of your sleep is. In other words, your quality of sleep can increase by having longer REM sleep, you can increase your REM percent by extending total sleep time.
So, how long do you need to sleep? Most people will fall into 7-9 range for sleeping needs. Experts agree that 95% of adults need to sleep around 7-9 hours to function optimally.
We all notice that older people sleep less than us. According to research, older people take longer to fall asleep and less time to sleep on bed. Since Non-REM sleep helps you recover your body and REM sleep helps you recover your mind, sleep debt makes old people get older because body and mind don't recover optimally. Therefore, it's logical that having a good sleep is a good way for anti-aging. Sleep better if you want to stay young.
Don't have time to sleep
Many people claim that they don't have time to sleep because they are so busy with their life. They can't finish their work so they have to sacrifice their sleeping time to work. This is another viscous cycle, sleep less> bad performance> can't finish the work> sacrifice the sleep > bad performance>...
Here are some tips to find more time to sleep.
Do the important thing first Eat the frog. Find out the most important thing that leverages the biggest impact, then do that thing first. No matter how bad is the rest of your day, at least you finish your most important thing. You can sleep with ease at night.
Avoid TV Some TV programs are really funny and entertain. I like to watch TV programs too but TV programs mostly make us procrastinate the task need to be done until the task becomes emergency.
Don't check your smart phone Many people like to check their smart phone when they are working, and this makes them work longer time. Stop checking your smart phone when working.
Turn off the electronics Force yourself to turn off electronics when you are going to sleep. For example, force yourself to turn off your laptop when 11 pm. No laptop allowed after 11 pm. For me if I still face laptop after 11 pm, I tend to sleep after 1 am.
8 tips on how to sleep better
So now you know the influences of sleep debt, benefits of sleep, how the sleep cycles work, and how to find more time to sleep. But how to fall asleep faster and increase your quality of sleep? Here are some tips to sleep better.
1. Alcohol & caffeine Our body takes about 2 hours to metabolize alcohol. Therefore, try to limit alcohol consumption at least 2 hours before going to bed. Caffeine takes longer time to metabolize, a large cup of coffee could takes up to 15 hours to metabolize. In addition, caffeine can have an effect up to 6 hours after consumption. Therefore, normally I don't drink coffee after 2 pm.
2. Use the bedroom only for sleep and sex Our mind will associate places with memories. You won't think to have your lunch in the toilet. The same applies to your bedroom, don't do anything else other than sleep and sex in your bedroom. You will rewire your mind that your bedroom as the place to rest so you will fall asleep faster.
3. Use relaxation techniques Do something that can relax yourself before going to sleep. For examples, meditation, breathing exercises, daily journaling and so on. Do what works for you.
4. Go to sleep at a consistent time Go to sleep at a consistent time will let your body knows what time usually you are going to sleep, so when reach your sleeping time your body will signal you it's time to bed. Your body and mind will accept to sleep readily.
5. Develop a routine You can develop a “power down” ritual before bed, a set of things you will do before sleep every night. Our body loves ritual, and once your body and mind adapted to the routine, you body and mind are ready to sleep after going through the routine.
Your "power down" routine should starts about 2 hours before going to bed to prepare to enter the sleep phase. Here's my "power down" ritual.
Firstly I will go to brush my teeth and wash my face, keep good hygiene before going to bed. Sometimes I will take a cold bath. After that I will avoid TV and other electronics. No TV in bed, that makes me hard to fall asleep after watching a program. Instead, I read fiction in hard cover. After some reading, I will start to feel sleepy. I drink some water to prevent dehydration, switch off the light and lay on bed with comfortable position, then sleep.
With such routine I fall asleep quickly every night with no mistake. You don't have to copy my routine, you can formulate your own routine by adding here and there like relaxation techniques. Do what works for you.
6. Cold bath one hour prior to bed This one is not a must in my routine. It depends on the situation, mostly if I'm not dirty then I won't take bath before sleep. But sometimes I purposely take a cold bath before going to sleep because after a cold bath my body and mind feel tranquilized, and readily to sleep.
7. Buy the right TYPE of Mattress for you What type of mattress you are using? I personally like to use hard one instead of soft one. A mattress that is too soft is not able for you to sleep in a good position and increases the chances you move frequently when you sleep, this will result in low quality sleep.
8. How do you sleep?
How do you sleep? What kind of position you like to sleep? Sleep in the correct position is essential to have a better sleep. The position that I sleep with is half-military crawl position.
This position gives me the best sleep ever over the other positions. Essentially because when you sleep with this position you can’t move, much.
Less fidgeting = better sleep.
Track your sleep
To improve your sleeping experience you need to track your sleep. You can find an apps called SleepCycle or other similar apps that can help to track your regular sleep patterns.
By tracking your sleep pattern you will be able to identify your biological clock, how long your sleep debt is, your movement and your sound while sleeping. Do it for at least a week, so you have enough data to analyze and you can make adjustments along the way.
How to wake up better
I personally don't use any alarm clock or else to wake up. I don't like the idea of wake up by external factors - sound, physical swing, etc. I like to wake up naturally, because wake up naturally I won't feel groggy, miserable, lethargic and sleepy. Instead, wake up naturally make me feel energized and ready to go.
How do I do this? According to my sleep pattern, I sleep around 6 hours per day, someday only 4, so my circadian rhythm (the daily biological clock) is I need to sleep average 6 hours every night.
Since I want to wake up early, I sleep around 12 am every night (not earlier due to social interaction- supper, gathering, movie and so on, friendship is important to me) Of course sometimes this is exception and depends to the situation, I like to manage my time flexibly.
After implement this sleep habit/pattern for some times I wake up at 6 am everyday naturally. I don't need an alarm clock to make me up, no matter how late I sleep I won't wake up after 7 am. Wake up early at around 6 am is natural to me, because my biological clock adapted to this time.
Some people claim that they are night owl, they just can't wake up that early. This is just BS. Our biological clock can change and adapt, it's just about how bad you want to make it.
After wake up, I would carry out my morning ritual. A good morning ritual gives you a good start of the day.
1. Drink water The first thing I do in the morning is drinking water to hydrate the body.
2. Keep good hygiene Brush my teeth and take a bath
3. Exercising Do some simple exercises, the objective is to stretch the body.
4. Have my breakfast With a cup of coffee too. My favorite is white coffee.
5. Reading I have some quick reading while having my breakfast.
6. Review my vision and purpose Remind me what are my goals and dreams
7. Plan the day. After reviewing my vision and purpose I’d plan how my day will be going on.
The whole process usually doesn’t spend me more than an hour, if it exceeds one hour it should be end before one and the half hour. My ideal morning routine is less than one hour because more than it I feel like I’m not spending my time on productive things.
How about naps?
In fact, we are naturally wired for naptime. See the video.
Normally we just need 20 minutes or so for a nap in afternoon daily to keep us energetic. Some people called it "power nap". However, if you've slept less than normal the night before, you can take it up to 90 minutes.
We all spend 1/3 of time on sleep. Sleep well will improve our health, mind, body and productivity in order that we will gain a healthy lifestyle. Don't neglect the importance of sleep.
Everyone has to learn how to sleep better. Don't simply read the article, implement at least one or two things here to have a better sleep. You life will start to change.
Rio Yee is the Founder of WealthyLoveLife and is super passionate about helping people change their mind and take action to improve your important areas in life such as dating & relationships, personal finance and productivity.