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How Do We Know If We Have Enough Sleep? Check This New Study To Find Out

How Do We Know If We Have Enough Sleep? Check This New Study To Find Out

Finding that perfect amount of sleep is critical but difficult. Some people need a full eight hours to function while others are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with only five. Meanwhile, some people need to sleep half the day away in order to feel rejuvenated. Thus, the actual amount of sleep a person requires is highly subjective.

Sleep feels luxurious; however, it is a requirement for health. How long and how well you sleep keeps you emotionally balanced and feeling physically fit. Figuring out how much sleep you need is not as difficult as it sounds. All you need to do is pay attention to and keep track of how your body feels.

Growing Up & Out of Sleep

According to Harvard Medical School, you need the most sleep when you’re younger. Adults only need about half the sleep that children do.

Newborn babies need anywhere from 10.5 to 18 hours of sleep a day to be healthy because they use all that sleep to grow and develop. After three months, they require slightly less sleep (on average 10 to 14 hours). By the time children hit school, they need only an average of 10 hours.

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Once you hit 18 years of age, you only need an average of 7.5 to 8.5 hours a sleep per day on average.

Looking for Signs of Tiredness

If you’re not sure how much sleep you’re getting or whether it is enough, follow these guidelines for figuring out your sleep pattern:

Forget Your Bedtime, Check Your Wake Up Time

The average person moves through five sleep cycles each night. Each cycle lasts 90 minutes. This is where scientists get the 7.5 hour figure from. Instead of worrying about hitting that 7.5 hours after you go to bed, look at the time that you wake up.

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Pay attention to the time that you wake up naturally in the morning. Whether it is 10 AM or 5 AM, count back 7.5 hours from that figure to determine what time you need to go to bed in order to ensure you get the perfect amount of sleep.

Pay Attention to Your Tired Periods

Think about the periods of the day when you are most tired. Are you tired after waking? Does the tiredness hit after lunch or mid-afternoon? Or are you ready to crash around dinner time?

Any of these are a sign that you are not getting enough sleep. Each of these are cues for sleep that will help you determine if you’re getting enough sleep, if you’re over-tired, or if you are completely sleep deprived.

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Keep a Sleep Journal

Tracking how much sleep you get can help boost the level of sleep you get. Use a sleep journal to keep track of your sleep schedule and look at how consistently you get what you think is the right amount of sleep. Nowadays there are even high tech options such as smart-watches and custom wristbands that can do this for you.

Whatever option you choose, the journal will show you where you struggle and succeed when it comes to getting enough sleep. Even minor deviations are important because losing even one hour of sleep can affect your energy and your immune system.

Keeping an eye on your sleep schedule is also important because your body does not adjust as quickly to new sleep schedules as you would like it to. It can take a week to adjust to a new pattern if you have changed time zones or changed shifts at work.

Also note how often you try to “make up” sleep. Some people believe that getting extra sleep can help you make up for a lack of sleep other days. However, it is not the amount of sleep that matters as much as how long you get quality sleep. Simply sleeping more does not fully compensate for a previous lack of sleep. It can also mess with your normal sleep cycle.

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Fixing Your Sleeping Habits

After you’ve got more information about your sleep, your strengths and weaknesses will start to become more clear. To fix your sleeping habits and ensure you’re getting enough sleep, you need to make sleep a priority. Rather than focusing on making up sleep, you need to prioritize a natural sleep pattern.

A good way to fix your sleeping pattern is to take a sleep vacation. When you have two weeks free, go to bed at the same time every night and wake up without an alarm. You will notice that you’re sleeping later at first, but you will slowly start waking up at a suitable time all on your own. You’ll probably also find that you’re sleeping somewhere between seven and nine hours.

Conclusion

Remember that sleep is imperative for health. If after all your efforts, you’re still falling asleep during meetings, this may be a sign that there is something wrong with your sleep system. If you’re not sure why you can’t catch enough Zs, check in with a sleep doctor.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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