6 Tips Sleep Less: How To Functioning On Less Sleep
Too much sleep has always been looked down upon as a sign of laziness. Christians will quote Proverbs chapter six as a warning against sleeping because it results in poverty. On the other hand, Motivational speakers will use billionaires like Bill Gates and Elon Musk as examples of how little sleep is important to be successful or productive.
Einstein would sleep for 10 hours and still take naps, yet we recognize him among the smartest men that ever lived. While experts recommend that we get at least 8 hours of sleep, research has shown that you can get by with much less sleep. So, if you feel like you have been sleeping your life away, here are tips to help you reduce the hours of sleep you need per night.
1. Watch What You Drink
If you cannot accomplish any task without boosting your energy with caffeine, you might be affecting your sleep quality with each cup you take. While a mug of coffee in the morning is enough to get you going, it is not advisable in the evening. Caffeine stays in the blood for 4-6 hours; thus, it will disrupt your sleep pattern by making it harder to fall asleep if taken a few hours before your usual bedtime. Avoid taking caffeinated drinks six hours before bedtime for better sleep quality.
Alcohol is also a sleep disrupter. It does not matter if you are not addicted; as little as one drink will affect sleep quality. It induces relaxation and sleepiness, meaning that you will most likely not want to be woken up at your regular time. When consumed excessively, it causes insomnia, so you will want to compensate for the lost hours.
2. Allow Enough Time for Digestion before Sleeping
They say you should eat breakfast like a king and dinner like a pauper. Most people disregard this and take heavy meals at night, which adversely affects the night's sleep. At night, you do not need much energy to keep you alive; thus, a little food is enough. When you consume a lot of food at night, you reduce the body's alertness.
Renowned Yogi Sadhguru warns that 80% of food consumed will go to waste if you fall asleep within two hours. He recommends giving the body enough time to digest. A heavy meal taxes the digestive system, making you uncomfortable. Therefore, you will struggle with getting a good night's sleep due to insomnia.
3. Listen to Your Body
You might be guilty of waking up in the middle of the night to check the time and realize you have a few more hours before the alarm goes off. Usually, the body wakes you up when it has had enough sleep, so you do not have to go back to sleep. You do not even need an alarm, and if you insist on sleeping until it goes off, you are training the body to require more than enough sleep. Therefore, when you wake up, get out of bed immediately and start your day instead of snoozing the alarm.
4. Train Your Body to Need Less Sleep
One sleep neuroscientist, Professor Jim Horne of Loughborough University, claims that a good night's sleep does not have to amount to eight hours a day. By training your body to adapt to a new routine of six hours, you will still get quality sleep and remain productive. His tips involve setting the alarm at the same time every day, so you wake at that exact time, every day.
In the first week, stay up for an extra twenty minutes, then in the second week, delay going to sleep by 40 minutes. In the third week, stay up for an hour such that by the end of the month, you will have reduced the amount of sleep you are getting to six hours. However, the professor insists the hours of sleep you need is dependent on your genes and gender. Women who don't get a good night's sleep have exhibited hostility, depression, and anger.
5. Get Enough Rest
The body knows when it is well-rested and will automatically wake up when it feels it has had enough rest. However, as you try to cope with the pressures of life, you will be tempted to deny yourself sleep as much as possible to meet the deadlines and hit certain targets. Such pressure will leave you in a mental state that requires loads of rest, and six hours of sleep may not be enough.
Sadhguru advises that if you deny your body the rest it requires, your mental and physical capabilities will decrease. Sleep is supposed to rejuvenate our bodies, thus assess the amount of rest you need. There are different forms of rest, and if you can find an activity that helps you relax, you will not need as much sleep to keep you productive.
6. Create an Ideal Environment for Sleeping
Moving that television into the bedroom may seem like a good idea, but it will reduce the amount of sleep you get as you are tempted to watch the latest series. The same goes for late-night texting while in bed. Electronics have been known to reduce sleep quality and quality by inhibiting melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone.
Also, consider getting a new pillow or mattress if the ones you have keep you awake at night. A warm bath coupled with aromatherapy will enable you to fall asleep faster. White light also inhibits melatonin production, so you should replace those bulbs in the bedroom with those that emit yellow light.
Our bodies function differently. You might be among the lucky few that need only a few hours of sleep or, you could be like Einstein, sleeping for 10 hours a night. Whichever the case, you will not know how much sleep you require until you try changing your sleep cycle. With these tips, you can adopt a new routine to sleep less and become more productive.