There are many things in life you can give up that aren’t very beneficial: fatty foods, sweets, or a sedentary lifestyle. However, if you cut down on the amount of sleep you get every night you are setting yourself up for some tough times.
We all need a sufficient amount of sleep to function at our best, yet sleep often is the first thing to be sacrificed when we have a million and one things to do and little time to do it.
Cutting off an hour here and an hour there may not seem like much but the cumulative effect can be highly detrimental. It can significantly affect the quality of our work as well as our mood. Even though the affects may seem minor, sleep loss reduces our ability to learn and affects our memory.
So how much sleep do we generally need? Studies show that most people require seven to eight hours of sleep a night to feel comfortably rested. Research shows that less than three percent of the population can get by on less than seven hours. Unfortunately, the majority of the population is routinely getting fewer than seven hours of sleep every night.
Less sleep can translate into diminished production on the job. Studies show that individuals who excel at their jobs typically get more sleep than the general population. Consider a study in which a leading violinist reported getting an average of eight and a half hours of sleep every night while fitting in an hour nap during the day. This individual told researchers that next to practice, sleep was the next most important factor to improving his performance. Now that is an endorsement.
Getting a better night’s sleep has a lot to do with routine. The earlier you can get to bed, the better it is for you. Also, try to go to bed the same time every night. Doing so helps you to avoid staying up too late and running the risk of a poor night’s rest.
It is also recommended that one prepare for bed about 45 minutes in advance. That means ending busy activities first so you can begin to relax. Engage in calming activities such as reading a book, listening to relaxing music and even drinking a warm liquid such as milk.
If your mind is like a spinning Rolodex of unfinished projects, take time to jot them down before you go to bed. If you don’t, you run the risk of scanning over these projects in your mind and making it harder to fall asleep. This is the time when you want your mind to be as uncluttered as possible.
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