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10 Ways To Have Quality Sleep That You Probably Don’t Know

10 Ways To Have Quality Sleep That You Probably Don’t Know

You probably spend 25-40% of your life sleeping. During that time your brain and body are busy overseeing biological maintenance that will enable you to reach your full potential.

Many of us, however, perceive sleeping as a waste of time and try to limit it as much as possible. This impacts our long term functioning. Here are some hints on how to improve the quality of one of the most basic necessities in life.

1. Make quality sleep a priority.

There are countless demands nowadays that make our life busy, and the easiest time to cut is sleep. However, to improve its quality you need to make it a priority. It won’t happen overnight and it won’t happen if you don’t perceive it as an important factor of the quality of your life. The first step to have quality sleep is to put it close to the top of your priority list. You can also start building positive habits around your dreaming.

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2. Build a quality sleep environment.

In most articles about quality sleep, you will find the usual set of rules, such as keeping your bedroom dark and quiet, having a comfortable bed, keeping the temperature low, avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, avoiding TV etc. Let’s just mention it all once – these things are very important and it really matters for your relaxing bedtime routine!

3. Observe and experiment.

Everyone is different and this is why observing yourself is so important to have quality sleep. Start a diary. Install an application on your mobile phone for sleep tracking. Try experimenting with your pre-sleep routine, timing, exercises, room temperature, and sleep length to see what works best for you. If you make it fun set of experiments, you will soon find your own, natural style and not “one fits all” solution.

4. Don’t nap for too long

Napping is actually very healthy if you do it right. There is just one rule: keep it under 25 minutes, where 10-15 minutes is best.

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Sleep unfolds in a series of recurring sleep stages: N1 (transition to sleep, usually few minutes), N2 (light sleep, usually 10-25 minutes), N3 (deep sleep, usually 20-40 minutes), REM (rapid eye movement) and then the cycle repeats itself.  The average length of the first sleep cycle is usually between 70 and 100 minutes and later cycles are about 90 to 120 minutes.

The worst thing you can do is to take a nap to enter the deep sleep and then be woken up in the middle of it. You will probably feel much worse after the nap than before! Understanding your sleep cycle is also important for experimenting, because you can plan your alarm time based on the sleep length, rather than specific hour. You can also try installing an application that analyzes your sleep patterns and tries to wake you up when you should feel relaxed the most, or invest in a special device like Jawbone UP or Fitbit One.

5. Expose yourself to light wisely.

Light exposure controls melatonin, which is a naturally occurring hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle. If you have problems getting up early, try exposing yourself to strong light in the morning and use dimmed light and sunglasses in the evenings. You may also like to rearrange your space to let as much light in as possible.  Spend more time outside during daylight, avoid computer, TV and backlit devices at night. The opposite will also work if you want to stay awake in the evenings – just avoid the light in the morning and expose yourself to it in the evenings.

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6. Establish a pre-sleep routine.

Establishing a pre-sleep routine can prepare you mentally for the next few hours and your body will feel it. The whole day could be crazy, but if you regularly take a short shower, make few physical and breath exercises and then go to bed, your body will start relaxing during the first moments of your shower, a long time before you are actually ready to sleep.

7. Anticipate wake-up.

Have you ever tried to wake up early in the morning to catch a flight or bus? Your sleep was probably quite short and yet the morning was energized. It is all in your head. When you anticipate wake-up and there is something important waiting for you in the morning, your energy level will be much higher. Plan a quick activity or task early in the morning that will help you achieve quality sleep.

8. Boost your morning.

Music, dance and fun will greatly help you wake up. They are very powerful mood-enhancing tools that will determine your morning state of mind. Try your best tunes, few crazy moves and some good set of jokes that will pump your blood full of positive energy to your whole body. First few moments during the day will impact the way you think about your sleep.

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9. Exercise during the day.

The worst thing that can happen when you want to go to sleep is that your mind is worried and tired, but your body has not exercised that much during the day. Physical activity is so important for your health! By exercising for as little as 30 minutes a day, you can have quality sleep, reduce your risk of heart disease and many more.

10. Take a sleep vacation from time to time.

Life is life, we don’t always sleep as much as we should and over time, we tend to create something called “sleep debt,” which is simply a cumulative effect of not getting enough sleep. Sleep debt is dangerous, resulting in impaired memory, concentration, and motor skills. Your immune system and healing process also suffer. This is why from time to time, you should take a sleep vacation and return to your quality sleep. You simply have to pay your debt back before your organism asks for it!

Sleep affects many aspects of our life. Having a quality sleep is very important to have a quality life.
If you have your own best ways to have quality sleep, share them with me!

More by this author

Piotr Nabielec

Author, CEO, Consultant

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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