When you awake by alarm clock, you didn’t, by definition, get enough sleep. Find the hour at which you can retire and easily wake up on your own without the aid of an alarm. If you need eight hours, then obviously, you have to go to bed at 10 p.m. if you need to be up at 6 a.m.
If you’re going to bed at 11 or 11:30 p.m. and still using an alarm to awaken, and think you can slug through the day, you’re right, you can in the short term. In the long term, it catches up to you.
See if any of these tactics help.
Lay out the next day’s clothes the night before, like Mom did for you when you were young. Have nutritious food ready. You know that eating junk at home or anything on the run won’t give you the fuel you need to accomplish one task after another at work.
You’ll run out of gas too soon, and then look for quick and easy stimulants – did someone say caffeine? – to keep yourself going. This isn’t the way to work, treat your body or spend a lifetime.
Napping, good or evil?
If and how you nap impacts your sleeping and waking routines. In general, napping increases your alertness for the rest of the day. The best nap time is between 2 and 3 p.m. Any later and your nap may be too deep, interfering with your nighttime sleep. Some people nap easily; others can’t seem to nap at all. You already know which camp is yours.
Naps are a good subsidy to normal sleep patterns but not a good substitute for regularly getting the right amount of sleep. It’s best not to use naps to catch up on sleep if you shortchange yourself every night.
Your quality of sleep will be much higher and the immediate benefits more apparent if you nap in a bed or cot as opposed to a chair. Although everyone feels a little groggy for a few minutes after a nap, this gradually subsides.
The long and short of it
Surprisingly, short naps are more productive than long naps. A short nap will leave you refreshed. A long nap may interfere with your sleep that night. Naps of 20 minutes or less usually help avoid REM sleep, the deep-sleep stage from which you’re likely to wake — and stay — groggy.
To get the most from your nap time, safeguard the area before you nod off by making sure that phones, fax machines or other gadgets will not disturb you. If it helps, post a “do not disturb” sign.
Bottom line: You might need to readjust your sleeping habits. It’s been proven that getting enough sleep is the key to having enough energy to successfully get through your workday. Dream about that as you drift toward your weekend.
Would you describe your sleep habits as healthy or lacking? Please share you strategies in the comment box below.