How to get Better Quality Sleep

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how-to-get-better-quality-sleep

A few weeks back I wrote about the Career and Health Risks of Sleep Deprivation, in which I mentioned that people who are drunk can actually OUTPERFORM those lacking sleep! Since sleep is very important for our health and career, today I would like to write a follow-up to that post – on how to get better quality sleep.

It is not just how much you sleep

 

Don’t get me wrong, it is (very) important to get a sufficient amount of sleep how-to-get-better-quality-sleep-4each night. Being sleep-deprived slows down your ability to process information and solve problems, and kills your creativity. You have difficulty controlling your emotions, you get irritated easily, and you would have a hard time paying attention. On the other hand, when you get enough sleep it helps your brain learn new things and develop new habits.

Sleep experts, though, know it is not just how much you sleep that matters, but also how well you sleep. The following identifies some of the killers of quality sleep and the strategies to clean up your sleep hygiene.

1) Keep away from sleeping pills and alcohol. Sleeping pills have their place for short-term relief of serious, persistent insomnia, but they (along with alcohol) greatly disrupt your brain’s natural sleep process, and anything that interferes with the brain’s natural sleep process has dire consequences for the quality of your sleep.

2) No caffeine after lunch. Caffeine takes a full 24 hours to work its way out of your system. Any caffeine in your bloodstream reduces REM sleep, which is the deep sleep stage when your body recuperates most.

3) Take naps. A short nap in the afternoon can give you the rest you need to get through the rest of the day, and you will sleep much better at night than if you take caffeine.

4) Avoid short-wavelength blue light at night. Laptops, tablets, mobile phones and televisions emit short-wavelength blue light, which impairs melatonin (the sleep-inducing hormone) production and hence your ability to fall asleep. It also interferes with the quality of your sleep once you do. If you MUST use one of these devices at night, you can limit your exposure with a filter or protective eye wear. Television is okay if you sit far enough from the set.

5) Stop working at least an hour before bedtime. Working in the evening puts you in an alert, stimulated state when you should be winding down and relaxing in preparation for sleep. Working on your laptop also exposes you to short-wavelength blue light (See no. 4).

6) Learn to meditate. Meditation has been proven to help us release stress, anxiety and worry, and achieve a state of deep relaxation in both mind and body, leading to a great night’s sleep or a day of enhanced energy levels, focus and creativity, or both. I’ve written a short piece on meditating here.

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I hope that you’ve enjoyed this post (share with your family and friends if you do!), and as always please do not hesitate to share with me any questions or comments that you may have regarding this topic below, and I’ll be more than happy to get back to you. See you around!

 

“The only thing worth catching up on at night is your sleep.”

– Travis Bradberry

 


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10 Responses to How to get Better Quality Sleep

  1. Matt says:

    Being a programmer it’s often hard for me to keep my eyes off the computer screen – it’s literally my job to look at it. I recommend a program called FLUX for your computer and an app called Twilight for your phone. They both dim and change the color of your screen when it is close to nighttime. Highly recommended!

  2. Susan says:

    Considering the amount of sleep I got last night, finding this was a godsend. I didn’t know that caffeine lasts that long in the system. That might explain it. The tips you gave are helpful. One question though, how short is a short nap?

  3. Steven Varley says:

    I used to have a real problem with sleep, operating daily on about 3 hours.

    How I used to get through the day is beyond me, my problem is I never stopped working and couldn’t shut off. Now I make sure everything is finished by 8.30 – if it’s not it gets done tomorrow. I found I am more productive that way.

    • Clark says:

      That’s a very good habit change. Sleep is very important – some people have actually died due to lack of sleep.

  4. Lee says:

    Thanks for the post Clark, it’s something I have trouble with and I am guilty of most of those things you said one shouldn’t do. I am going to try some of them tonight. Will follow you for continued advice. Regards, Lee

  5. Kangalarino says:

    Yes I agree Clark with Meditation and also by turning off that tv, computer and phone at least an hour before bedtime and read a book. Giving great information to people out. keep it going:)

    • Clark says:

      Thanks, Kangalarino (Great name, by the way!)

      Alright, I will continue to write more articles like this if you promise to come back often :).

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