Tuesday, 2 June 2015

5 steps to a perfect night's sleep

When it comes to sleep, timing is everything. Once you learn to synchronize your body’s biological clock, your body will know when to sleep and when to be alert. Here are five ways to set the clock and start sleeping well.

1. Wake at the same time every day
A good night’s sleep actually starts in the morning. The second your eyes flutter open, light shoots down the optic nerve and into the brain’s biological clock. There it stimulates the production of a smorgasbord of hormones that regulate growth, reproduction, eating, sleeping, thinking, remembering—even how you feel from minute to minute.

2. Hit the sheets only when sleepy
No, not just tired. Sleepy, as in your eyes are droopy and you keep losing track of what people are saying to you.

3. Get up
Sleeping from 11:30 p.m. until 2:00 a.m., tossing and turning until 4, then sleeping until 6 gives you eight hours in bed but only 4 1/2 hours of sleep. That’s a huge mismatch that can actually inhibit your sleep drive and cause insomnia all by itself. To prevent that from exacerbating your sleep issues, when you wake at 2:00 a.m., get up and go read a book in the living room. Being up increases your sleep drive—which just could make you sleepy enough to actually fall asleep when you return to bed.

4. Give yourself an hour
The one right before bed. You need it to wind down and transition from the woman-who-can-do-everything into the woman-who-can-sleep. Unfortunately, most women are not giving themselves one single second. According to the 2007 National Sleep Foundation poll, during the hour before bed, around 60 per cent of us do household chores, 37 percent take care of children, 36 percent do activities with other family members, 36 per cent are on the Internet, and 21 per cent do work related to their jobs.

5. Beware Sunday night insomnia
Staying up late on Friday and Saturday nights and sleeping in on Saturday and Sunday mornings is frequently the gift we give ourselves on weekends after a hard week at work. Yet that little gift—small as it is—is enough to screw up our biological clocks. Even if you get to bed early on Sunday night, you will not be ready to sleep, and you will not end up being the happy camper you were expecting come Monday morning.

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