If you don’t get enough sleep, personal performance suffers. It’s that simple. Oh, and you probably don’t get enough sleep. According to the Newsweek Article, The Surprising Toll of Sleep Deprivation, adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night to feel fully rested and function at their best.
Most of us aren’t getting that much sleep. The cumulative effects of shorting ourselves on sleep, even if it is just a little each night, include a steady decline in cognitive abilities and reaction time…not likely to help you think creatively at work or perform well athletically. Long term, short sleep duration can unbalance hormones and lead to negative long term health effects.
Ultimately, quality sleep is central to your quality of life…so, what are some strategies for getting a good night’s sleep. The Zen to Fitness post Switch Off And Get Some Sleep discusses the pitfalls of modern distractions and how they keep us from getting to bed. This post also provides strategies for establishing a more regular sleep pattern.
If you do not prefer sleeping for 7 to 9 consecutive hours or your work and commuting schedule do not allow for it, then you should review the Straight to the Bar article Biphasic Sleep: 30 Day Summary. Scott Bird provides a thorough review of his experience adopting this sleep routine, which focuses on ninety minute sleep cycles and breaks each day’s sleep into two intervals. Scott provides a thorough report and concludes that overall he loves this approach to sleep.
One last thought on getting a good night’s sleep comes from Mike Mahler. Mike applies magnesium transdermally (as an oil) and takes 5mg of melatonin before going to bed. As discussed previously in the post Consult Your Biological Clock to Optimize the Effectiveness of Vitamin and Mineral Supplements, magnesium and zinc tend to induce drowsiness, which is why I take these supplements after dinner. I frequently use melatonin to help me get to sleep and ward off the effects of jet lag while travelling. I usually take 1-2mg in these situations. 5mg strikes me as a pretty large dose, but Mike is a big guy.
Because I have melatonin on hand, for the last two weeks, I have been taking it before bed. The results, I fall asleep more quickly and sleep more soundly. During the day I feel better too…not surprising, now that I am getting more sleep.
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