Source: Business Insider.com
The next time you tell yourself that you’ll sleep when you’re dead, realize that you’re making a decision that can make that day come much sooner. Pushing late into the night is a health and productivity killer.
Stay Away from Sleeping Pills
..(Stay away from) anything you take that sedates you…(w)hether it’s alcohol, Nyquil, Benadryl, Valium, (or) Ambien…Anything that interferes with the brain’s natural sleep process has dire consequences for the quality of your sleep. Many of the strategies that follow eliminate factors that disrupt this recovery process. If getting off sleeping pills proves difficult, make certain you try some of the other strategies (such as cutting down on caffeine) that will make it easier for you to fall asleep naturally and reduce your dependence upon sedatives.
Stop Drinking Caffeine After Lunch
Caffeine is a powerful stimulant that interferes with sleep by increasing adrenaline production and blocking sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain. Caffeine has a 6-hour half-life, which means it takes a full 24 hours to work its way out of your system. Have a cup of joe at 8 a.m., and you’ll still have 25% of the caffeine in your body at 8 p.m. Anything you drink after noon will still be near 50% strength at bedtime…You’ll be naturally inclined to grab a cup of coffee or an energy drink to try to make yourself feel more alert, which very quickly creates a vicious cycle.
Wake Up at the Same Time Every Day
Consistency is key to a good night’s sleep, especially when it comes to waking up. Waking up at the same time every day improves your mood and sleep quality by regulating your circadian rhythm. When you have a consistent wake-up time, your brain acclimates to this and moves through the sleep cycle in preparation for you to feel rested and alert at your wake-up time. Roughly an hour before you wake, hormone levels increase gradually (along with your body temperature and blood pressure), causing you to become more alert. This is why you’ll often find yourself waking up right before your alarm goes off. When you don’t wake up at the same time every day, your brain doesn’t know when to complete the sleep process and when it should prepare you to be awake.
No Binge Sleeping (In) on the Weekend
Sleeping in on the weekend is a counterproductive way to catch up on your sleep. It messes with your circadian rhythm by giving you an inconsistent wake-up time. When you wake up at the same time during the work week but sleep past this time on the weekend, you end up feeling groggy and tired because your brain hasn’t prepared your body to be awake. This isn’t a big deal on your day off, but it makes you less productive on Monday because it throws your cycle off and makes it hard to get going again on your regular schedule.