What you’re encountering here is a highly effective sleeper; a rare breed of the Millennial Generation, with super-concentration powers and a knack of getting everything done with time to spare.
If you’ve dreams, albeit brief, of clocking up the enviable 7-9 hours sleep; practice these 6 habits of highly effective sleepers.
1. They’re Pretty Spiritual
And breeeathe. If you’re struggling to drift off, find your inner Zen and start to meditate. A study led by Havard Medical Health agrees that by focusing on “moment-by-moment experiences, thoughts, and emotions” through mindful meditation, you approach day-to-day challenges more pragmatically/with a clear head. This in turn, takes the pressure off and enables you to sleep stress free for the recommended 7-9 hours.
Even simple breathing techniques can help you relax. Health expert and best-selling author, Dr Weil advocates the ‘4-7-8 breathing technique;’ in which you inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7, then exhale for 8 seconds. Repeat this process 3 times to achieve sleep-worthy calmness.
2. They Appreciate The Sunshine
Locking yourself away for 8 hours a day in a lightless office can also impact your quality of sleep. By not getting a sufficient amount of sunlight, you confuse your body clock and disrupt your natural sleep/wake patterns.
A study presented at the 27th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC, revealed the need for sunlight to its true extent. When comparing the sun-seeking habits of 49 different day-shift workers; 27 in windowless workplaces and 22 in workplaces with windows, they found that the employees who were exposed to natural light more often did in fact, have a better night’s sleep and “slept an average of 46 minutes more per night,” says Forbes.
What’s more, workers with windows also proved to be more active in the daytime, which also contributes to good quality sleep. Don’t eat your lunch at your desk and embrace a little sunshine, for the sake of your sleep.
3. They’re Avid Readers
Highly effective sleepers love to read. They switch off all electrical devices 1-2 hours before hopping into bed and curl up with a good book. The wind down process before trying to sleep is very important to achieving a good night’s rest. It tells the body that all activity has stopped, and you’re ready to relax.
Reading does just that. Rather than stimulating the mind, you immerse yourself in worlds far away from your own; removing any worries and enabling you to de-stress. A report from The Telegraph claims that ‘it only takes 6 minutes reading time to reduce the heart rate/tension in muscles,’ which in turn, helps you to relax. Time to hit the library.
4. They Eat The Right Things
How you fuel your day is critical to determining how well you’ll sleep. By grazing on sugar-filled chocolate bars throughout the day (that spike insulin levels and leave you sleepy when you shouldn’t be) you promote inconsistency and find yourself more inclined to nap, which leads to disrupted sleep. Likewise, guzzle coffee after coffee 9-5, and you won’t be able to switch off come bedtime. Where possible, steer clear of high-fat and sugar-rich foods – they aren’t sleep inducing. Same goes for alcohol, spicy dishes and caffeine; if you’re struggling to sleep, know your limits.
Instead stock your kitchen with sleep-friendly foods. The tryptophan content of wholegrain carbs and foods such as turkey and cottage cheese, help curb late-night hunger pangs by stimulating the creation of serotonin/melatonin, which regulate your sleep/wake patterns. Try snacking on a small portion of bread or crackers an hour before you sleep. Camomile tea, honey, almonds and kiwi fruit are also said to do the trick.
5. They DON’T Use Smartphones Before Bedtime
This is a bad habit that many poor sleepers can admit to doing – incessant scrolling. You’re bored, it’s late, you want to see what your friends are up to and ‘catch up with the world’ before setting your alarm. Big mistake. Like sleeping in front of the TV, the artificial blue light that emanates from your phone is damaging your sleep/wake patterns.
It tricks the brain into thinking that it’s morning, and interferes with melatonin production as a result. But melatonin does more than help us fall asleep – without it, you’re more vulnerable to disease and symptoms of depression. Switch off all technology well before heading to bed and keep your phone on the other side of the room as you sleep – no more Facebook at 2am!
6. They Seek Medical Help
If you’re still having difficulty sleeping, seek medical help. In the US alone, it’s estimated that 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnoea, many of which remain undiagnosed. If you suffer from persistent headaches, restless sleep, a lack of energy or are known to snore, speak to a medical expert to see if they can shed light on the issue.
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