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What Do Your Sleep Patterns Say About You?

What Do Your Sleep Patterns Say About You?

Tell me what time you wake up and I will reveal what type of person you are! No, I am not a fortune teller but there is now evidence to show your sleep patterns reveal a lot about your lifestyle and personality. How much sleep you manage to get is essential to your physical and mental health, according to all the sleep experts out there. It can affect your mood, weight control and productivity at work. It seems there is a genetic element in determining how much sleep we need. This is the conclusion reached by Dr. Ying-Hui Fu of the Department of Neurology at the University of California. Although everybody has different sleep needs and patterns, the following facts are worth bearing in mind:

  • About 25% of Americans feel they are not getting enough sleep half of the time.
  • A quarter of teens are only getting 6.5 hours sleep a night when they should be getting nine hours.
  • Forty-one million Americans are getting less than six hours sleep every night.

Here are five different types of sleep patterns. Which one do you fit into?

1. Are you a morning person?

If you like waking and getting up early, you are more likely to shine in the morning and get lots of things done. Your bedtimes are regular and do not vary wildly on the weekends. You like to have a decent breakfast which sets you up for the day. Evenings are less productive for you and you may feel like going to bed very early.

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2. Are you a napper?

Some people love a nap in the afternoon. Italian and Spanish timetables have taken this into account, since time immemorial. It is also due to climatic reasons. However, things are changing and there is a proposed labor reform in Spain to shorten the working day by eliminating the siesta! Even if you do not want or need a full siesta of an hour or so, a nap may benefit you.

If you work for an enlightened company, they now provide nap rooms for you to have a snooze, because experts say this can increase productivity, reduce stress and fatigue and lessen the risk of heart disease. Watch the video to learn more.

3. Are you an evening person?

If you are in this category, you may like to burn the midnight oil and party, study or work into the early hours because that is when you feel much more energetic. You prefer to work out in the evenings and you almost always need an alarm clock to wake you up. You do not go in for hearty breakfasts and you are pretty relaxed in regard to mealtimes.

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If you are not sure whether you are a morning or evening person, why not take the quiz here?

4. Do you sleep most during the weekend?

Many people struggle through the week on about 4-6 hours a sleep a night because of work pressure, long commutes and late nights. To make up your sleep deficit, you may sleep very late on the weekends or spend an afternoon in bed. The good news is this can partially help you to recover. The bad news is this is not a valid long-term strategy and does not always work to get you back to normal. This irregular type of sleep pattern can negatively impact:

  • Your immune system
  • Mood swings
  • Attention span and focus
  • Increase food cravings which will lead to obesity

This was the result of some research carried out by the Penn State University College of Medicine.

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5. Do you find it difficult to wake up?

There could be many reasons for this. It may be you are going to bed too late or you have a disturbed sleep pattern, caused by barking dogs or a snoring partner. There may be issues with insomnia, restless legs or sleep apnea. Your problem now is you have a very short time to get up, dressed and out of the house. This can be very stressful.

If you are fed up with loud alarm clocks, try a dawn simulator or a clock fitted with aromatherapy beads which can range from coffee to lavender. Some sadistic inventors have come up with a flying clock which takes off from the bedside table once it rings. Then, you have to chase it round the room and catch it before it stops bleeping. Not my ideal alarm clock!

Whatever type of sleep pattern you match, there is still the problem in getting up as painlessly as possible. Here are suggestions to make it less traumatic. If you are one of those rare types who can jump out of bed, ready to go, then skip this bit!

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  • Buy an alarm clock with a pleasant sound or with one of the new features mentioned above.
  • Forget the snooze button – the sleep quality is rubbish.
  • Set the alarm to go off at the latest practical moment.
  • Try stretching exercises before actually getting up.
  • Exercise if you feel like it – it works for some people in giving them an energy boost.

How do you deal with getting the right amount of sleep and also with getting up? Let us know in the comments below.

Featured photo credit: Lose your sleep/Scott McLeod via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

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.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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