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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 October 20, 2020

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future. Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

Bonus: Think Like a Rhino

More Tips for Procrastinators to Start Taking Action

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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