Indian Time - A Voice from the Eastern Door

Simple Steps to a Better Night's Sleep


Most people know they need to eat right and exercise to be healthy. But what about sleep? We spend about one-third of our lives asleep, and sleep is essential to better health. But many of us are struggling with sleep. Four out of five people say that they suffer from sleep problems at least once a week and wake up feeling exhausted. So how do you become a more successful sleeper? Grab a pillow, curl up and keep reading to find out.

To make matter worse, daylight saving time brings that twice-yearly ritual of feeling completely out of sorts the next Monday as we adjust our sleeping schedules.

The importance of good sleep hygiene truly can’t be overstated, so this is as good a time as any to re-evaluate how we sleep. To wit, here are a few things that can result from bad sleeping habits:

• Weight gain

• Increased rates of workplace accidents

• Driving abilities on par with those of drunken drivers

• Problems staying focused

• Higher likelihoods of catching a cold

So before you doze off for another 10 minutes before getting ready for work, and can I assume you’re reading this in bed as you put off jumping in the shower? According to NYT’s Smarter Living, here are few things that can help you wake up more refreshed and better prepared to tackle your day.

Listen to Your Body

This is the simplest, but most important, question to ask yourself: Are you tired?

Generally, most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Yes, life often makes that impossible, but it’s a target we all should shoot for, so go to bed when you’re sleepy and, if you can, wake up at the same time every morning.

But if you’re getting enough hours in and you’re still sleepy throughout the day, it’s possible the sleep you’re getting isn’t as restful as it could be.

Track Your Sleep

A useful app to have on your phone is a ‘sleep tracker’ to ‘track’ your sleep cycle. Check out ‘Sleep Cycle’ in your apps. Turn it on when you’re about to fall asleep, and it tracks the duration and quality of your rest. Modern technology - what a world.

Of all the aspects of the quantified self you could engage in, analyzing your sleep patterns is by far probably the most important. In the same way a food tracker forces you to look at what you put into your body, tracking your sleep makes you realize you’re probably not getting nearly as much sleep as you should.

Of course, you can always go low-tech and keep a sleep diary. To help you out, check out NYT’s sleep diary that you can print for all your tracking needs.

Figure Out if You’re a Morning Person

While we’re listening to our bodies, let’s be honest: Do mornings just not work for you? It’s fine if they don’t, but knowing is half the battle and by not listening to your natural rhythms you might be trying to create certain sleep habits that simply aren’t a fit for your life.

If You’re Tired During the Day, Take a Nap

My personal favorite bit of sleep advice: If you’re tired, take a nap. Research has shown that midday naps can help improve your productivity at work and, assuming you don’t take them too late in the afternoon, they generally don’t negatively affect your sleep schedule. And perhaps you’ve picked up on the theme here: Listen to your body.


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