I´ve had some technical issues recently, but I hope that they are conquered and I am back.
Before the disruption we were looking at sleep. The first article dealt with how to get to sleep faster. Today we are going to look at a couple more aspects, and on Wednesday we will finish off the series.
First, here´s a very quick and interesting quiz to help you understand your natural sleep rhythms. You probably have a pretty good sense of when you are at your best and when you are completely useless. This quiz produces a graphical representation of your patterns of alertness and it provides some simple ways to deal with them. It´s nothing you don´t know, but seeing it in a graph can make it more powerful and meaningful.
We can´t always get as much sleep as we would like to. We may have the best of intentions to get the 8 hours of sleep every day that will allow us to work at our best, but so often life gets in the way and doesn´t let us do that. Since we can´t get as much sleep as we would like all the time, it only makes sense that we should try to get the best possible sleep that we can. Here are a few tips that you probably know, but may not do, to help you sleep better:
1) Exercise, but do it early — It is logical that getting regular exercise will help you sleep better, since your body will need the rest. If you get that exercise within three hours of bed time, though, you are just asking for a rough sleep, because your body will be too pumped up from the workout to slow down and get some rest. If you are currently fitting in a workout late at night, you´ll figure better if you can find a way to reconfigure your schedule so you hit the gym (or wherever you exercise) earlier in the day.
2) Eat light, and early — Your body doesn´t just magically digest your food. It takes effort and activity to turn the food you eat into energy. If your body is digesting then it can´t be resting (with rhymes like that I should be a poet), so you are asking for a bad sleep if you are eating heavy meals and you are doing it near your bedtime.
3) Go for decaf — You probably know not to have coffee right before bed, but did you know that you should stop taking in caffeine six full hours before you hit the sheets? It takes that long for the effects of caffeine to be washed out of your body, so if you drink a caffeinated drink closer than six hours to your bed time you are going to be fighting the jittery effects of caffeine as you try to sleep. That´s like trying to sleep with the lights on.