One of the things that I deal with is lack of sleep. You know, it’s getting past your normal time to start falling asleep, you check your email just ONE more time – 3 hours later you find yourself starting a new company, listening to great late-night radio, getting a lot done – and losing those precious hours of sleep.
Take that motivation and use it – that’s fine! However, you have to realize exactly what the consequences are, and how to get back into the swing of a normal schedule.
Here are a few ways that I’ve found to combat this when I want to.
1. Quality of sleep
The average American spends 194,821 hours of there hour 649,401 life sleeping (roughly 1/3). Get a good mattress – it’s a great investment. Most of the higher-end mattress stores will allow you to try a bed in-home for 30 days, and they’ll even deliver it! This had made a world of difference for me. You don’t know until you try.
2. Sleep testing
Go to a sleep doctor – this is very important. They will measure how effective your sleeping actually is, and most insurance providers cover it (as common sleep “disorders” such as sleep apnea are terrible for your heart).
3. Be prepared for sleep
I often will put away my laptop(s), put my phone on Phone Calls Only (no texts/emails) and starting winding down with a small snack along with book reading. Sleeping in a dark room and waking up with natural light is a great way to wind down and boost up. Staying with 1.5 hour cycles (REM cycles) – you will wake up feeling better. This is why 30 minute naps _never_ work for me, but 1 1/2 hour naps are where the money is at. Try to wakeup without an alarm clock (if you can). Do not have clocks in your room. See where your natural sleep rhythm is, and use that to your advantage.
4. Use technology
Many computer monitors put out a very high (or “hot”) light and colors. This blue light triggers your brain as if you were looking at the sun, secretly taking you out of that “sleepy” mode. Flux fixes this: it makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day. This has helped me fall asleep much faster and easier – give it a shot. It’s free and no hassle. Install it once and forget about it.
5. Sleep debt
I don’t care what anyone else tells you – you WILL have a sleep debt if you consistently go without enough sleep. I used to think that I could just catch up on the weekend, right? Wrong. You need to gradually payoff your sleep debt – 1 hour increments works well for me. If I rack up 5 hours of sleep debt throughout the week, I will add 1 hour increments to each additional night of sleep to get “back on track”. The downside to having sleep-debt is that you cannot “sleep it off” in 1-2 nights. You will be left not feeling alert, be much more prone to sickness, weight gain, etc etc. I use a log, next to my bed, to measure the amount of sleep debt I have, and what I need to payback. You laugh – but it works. I just logged that I’ll have 1 hour of sleep debt to sleep-off this week!
6. Limit your caffeine
Caffeine is a great way to remain alert, at times – but I never have caffeine late at night. I am fine just “pushing through” when I am tired, and I can keep myself alert. The benefit to this, is that I do not have to time when to go to bed based on my caffeine intake. Everyone is affected a little bit differently, but I would always find myself not being able to fall asleep even 6 hours after caffeine. The importance of being efficient in what you do, is time management. Whenever I am ready to go to sleep – I want to go to sleep immediately. However, this isn’t always how it works out when I have had too much caffeine. Watch your caffeine/sugar intake 6 hours before you plan on sleeping – you’ll be gold.
There you go! Get out there and be more efficient.