It is the fact nowadays that sleep deprivation is a commonplace occurrence in modern culture. Every day there seems to be half as much time available and double the things to do. The only option available to us it would seem would be to increase the amount of time we are awake.
This might sound like a simplistic response but actually looked at slightly differently makes perfect logical sense. The answer it would seem would be not just increase the time we are awake but to actually make more productive use of the time we are awake.
To do that we have to make more productive use of the time we are asleep. We have to make our sleep more efficient, more rewarding and as a result more productive.
Again, this sounds simplistic but there are four simple rules that if you follow will help you get a better night’s sleep.
1. Don’t spend as much time in bed. Again sounds like a simplistic statement but what I actually mean is that the less time you spend in bed the higher the proportion the sleep time to bed time ratio is. Eight hours of sleep out of 8.5 hours in bed is more productive than eight hours sleep out of 10 hours in bed.
2. Control regularly what time you get up each day. Our bodies are controlled by circadian rhythms. The circadian rhythm needs one stable point around which it can stabilize. You cannot control what time you actually fall asleep but you can control what time you get up. If you feel better off after eight hours sleep and you can control getting up regularly at 7 a.m. then sooner or later your body clock will just adjust to feeling sleepy at 11 p.m. the night before
3. Avoid the bedroom clock. The first thing you do when you wake up in the middle of the night is look at your clock. The time pressure contributes to poor sleep. In addition, the acts of opening your eyes to see the clock and lifting your head to read the time wake you up even more. What difference does it make if it is 1:00 am or 3:00 am? Turn your clock around or move it to the other side of the room where you won’t be tempted to look. If you wake up in the middle of the night, keep your eyes closed, and you will be more likely to go right back to sleep.
4. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco. Caffeine has been shown to disrupt sleep, even in individuals who don’t think it affects them. The effect of caffeine remains in the body on average from 3 to 5 hours. Remember that caffeine is not just in coffee but in tea, chocolate, and many sodas (note that a soda does not have to be brown to be full of caffeine – read the labels). For individuals with insomnia, it is best to avoid all caffeine after lunchtime. And if you need one more reason to stop smoking, tobacco (nicotine) also has been shown to disturb sleep. Nicotine can have an arousing effect and therefore make it more difficult to sleep.
Alcohol often is used by insomniacs to help them fall asleep. One old wives’ tale suggests having a glass of sherry before bed to promote sleep. In fact this is just an old wives’ tale. Alcohol makes you sleepy initially but several hours later when the alcohol wears off, it can cause you to wake up (insomnia). Therefore if you drink alcohol with dinner, you may be sleepy right after dinner, but several hours later, when it is time for bed, you may be wide awake.