To experience optimal living, you can’t take shortcuts. One of areas that is often ignored is "Sleep". People set aside sleep to live. While, in the long run, the converse is true. The better you sleep, the better you live. It wouldn't be ambitious to classify the “Four Golden Rules of Good Sleep”:
1. Get enough sleep every night.
2. Establish a regular sleep schedule.
3. Get continuous sleep.
4. Make up for lost sleep.
Your journey to optimal living starts by identifying the amount of sleep you need to be fully alert all day long. It is different for different people and therefore it will be incorrect to propose a standard duration that applies to everyone. You need to somehow make sure you get that amount every night. Surveys have shown that most people need at least 60-90 minutes more sleep than they are currently getting. The average person needs 8 hours of sleep to be fully alert all day long. Sleeping just one hour longer can boost your alertness by 25%!
Golden Rule #2: Establish a regular sleep schedule.
Go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up without an alarm clock at the same time every morning, including weekends. Regularity is vital for setting and stabilizing your internal sleep/wake biological clock. Within six weeks, the hours you spend in bed will begin to synchronize with the sleepy phase of your biological clock.
Don’t fall into the trap of trying to catch up on lost weekday sleep by sleeping in on the weekends. If you sleep late on Sunday, you’ll probably have trouble falling asleep at your regular bedtime that night. When the alarm goes off Monday morning, you’ll still be sleepy. (This is the pattern behind “Monday morning blues”.)
Golden Rule #3: Get continuous sleep.
For sleep to be rejuvenating, you should get your required amount in one continuous block. Disrupted nocturnal sleep will cause you to be drowsy during the day. Six hours of good, solid sleep can be more restorative than eight hours of fragmented sleep -- as any parent of a newborn can tell you.
Limiting your time in bed to what you need, and no longer, will help deepen your sleep. So keep to a regular bedtime and avoid long daytime naps.
Golden Rule #4: Make up for lost sleep.
Living in today’s hectic society, you’ll occasionally fall into “sleep debt.” Probably this information could help: Reducing sleep by one hour for seven nights has the same effect as staying awake for 24 consecutive hours.
Sleep loss does not dissipate over time; rather, it’s cumulative. If you lose several hours of sleep on a given night, you will become more and more sleepy as the days go by. Lost sleep must be repaid, so pay back your sleep debt. Make up for lost sleep by going to bed earlier and return to your regular sleep schedule as soon as possible.
The bottom line: if you want to be wide awake, creative and dynamic all day long, get more sleep!