Benny's Adventures

The Secrets of Sleep

I’ve struggled with sleep for a long time and for a while I thought all sorts of things were wrong with me. However, partly due to increased pressure from having a full-time job, I finally made a breakthrough that made sleep so much more enjoyable.

What follows is a collection of things I’ve found that helped me and some thoughts I’ve had that solved the issue.

1. Follow the Body’s Sleep Cycles – Sleep in Multiples of 1.5 Hours

It’s generally common knowledge that an average human “should” get 8 hours of sleep. However, would you believe that getting less sleep could be even better?

Now, let me clarify – it’s not getting less sleep that makes it better but being able to work with how your body sleeps. The main issue to avoid is waking up when you’re in the middle of a sleep cycle. From what I can find the average sleep cycle is 90 minutes. 8 hours will wake you up right in the middle of the sixth cycle. After doing the 8 hour thing for a long time and then switching to being conscious of the 90 minute cycles the difference was immediately noticeable.

The nail in the coffin for me was this weekend actually where I went to bed without setting an alarm. I woke up the first time after approximately 6 hours and then decided that I wanted to sleep some more. I woke up – again, naturally – 1.5 hours later. While this isn’t proof by any means the evidence is definitely in favor of the 90 minute sleep cycle.

I’ve been doing better now on 6 and occasionally 7.5 hours of sleep than I have trying to get as close to 8 as possible.

2. Don’t Snooze

Snoozing is bad for two reasons. The first is the inherent risk of sleepily turning off your alarm or sleeping beyond the critical point for being ready for work/school/whatever. The second reason is that even if you sleep for another 5 or 10 minutes, that could have you sinking into deep sleep and waking up from that would actually make you more tired. Avoid snoozing at all costs!

3. Don’t Treat Sleep Like a Chore You Don’t Want to Do

I tend to approach sleep like a chore, like something I’d rather not be doing. However, sleep is vital to many bodily functions related to recovering from your day. Are you a student looking to learn your material better? You need sleep! Are you a man or woman looking to become more fit? You need sleep! Are you a human being? You need sleep! Wikipedia does a pretty decent job summarizing the important functions of sleep.

It’s tough to adjust a mindset but adjusting the mindset with respect to sleep is so rewarding! In my case I went from setting an alarm for 8.5 hours of bedtime, getting approximately 8 hours of sleep including the time to get to bed, and then more often than not falling back asleep for another hour or so and rushing to get ready and get to work on time. In college my sleep schedule was even worse. Now however I’ve been doing pretty well with 6 hours of sleep. I’ve had more energy for work and have been able to do more in the day.

I think my sleep issues have been fixed! If something changes in the near future I’ll let you know, but if you’re having sleep issues I hope that this helps!

Of course, if you’re having serious problems, always check with a medical professional. I’m only going from Google and personal experience.

25 June 2011 - Posted by | Feeling Good, Life, productivity | , , , ,

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