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23 Tips For Getting More Out of Less Sleep

23 Tips For Getting More Out of Less Sleep

As you’ve probably heard about a million times, sleep is essential for health, wellness, and energy. The obvious downside to sleep is that it takes time away from other productive things you could be doing, such as working or spending time with friends and family. This post is about how to get the most out of the sleep you do get, and maximize the energy you get through sources other than sleep. The goal of this post is to provide quick and actionable advice. You may want to find other resources to learn more about each tip.

How to Maximize Energy from Sleep 

Plan and Measure

1. Wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day. This will allow your body to get in to a rhythm, making it easier to both fall asleep and wake up on time.
2. For some people, it’s not the amount of sleep per day that has the most effect, it’s the amount of sleep per week. Find times in your schedule to catch up on sleep and fuel yourself for the rest of the week. Try measuring sleep in hours per week instead of per day.
3. On days where you won’t be getting as much sleep as you would like the night before, don’t plan as rigorous a schedule. Plan your most challenging and important tasks for days when you will be getting enough sleep.

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How to Fall Asleep Faster

4. Avoid screens such as phones or computers before bed. Many screens have been shown to display a type of light that may cause restlessness.
5. Avoid work or other stressful activities close to bed time. Instead, try relaxing activities such as reading or spending time with friends or family.
6. Don’t do work in your bedroom. You don’t want to have your bed associated with the feeling you get from work. Keep your bedroom as your place of relaxation.
7. Don’t drink caffeine too close to bed time.

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How to Wake Up Faster

8. Set your alarm clock to play music you love. It will excite you and give you energy to start the day.
9. Put your alarm clock across the room so you have to get out of bed to turn it off.
10. Drink coffee or tea immediately upon waking up. This will alleviate the morning groggy feeling and help you make the most of your awake time.
11. Drink water right before you go to sleep. When you wake up you’ll have to go to the bathroom, which will make you want to get up and prevent you from falling back to sleep. However, try to avoid excess amounts of water within the few hours prior to going to sleep, as at may cause you to wake up in the middle of the night.
12. Leave your blinds open. The sun will make you up in the morning and give you energy.

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How to Boost Energy from Sources Other Than Sleep

Nutrition

13. Spread food consumption across five to six meals per day. Digestion is a major use of energy. Eating five to six meals will help your body digest easier, and therefore hog less energy. In addition, you will have the right amount of sustenance throughout the day.
14. Drink plenty of water.
15. Avoid large serving sizes of sugar. Shortly after consuming a large serving of sugar, your energy levels may drop.
16. Avoid large serving sizes of saturated fat, such as fried foods. Excess amounts of saturated fats have been shown to cause fatigue.

Fitness

17. Exercise enough, but not too much. The right amount of exercise will boost your energy levels. However, if you exercise too much, your body will need more sleep to recuperate.
18. Short walks during the day can prevent you from feeling lethargic.

Mind

19. Have fun! Don’t forget to allocate time to friends and family, hobbies, etc. These activities will excite you and keep you motivated.
20. Keep your mind stimulated but not overworked. Similar to exercise, some mental challenge will give you energy, but too much may leave you fatigued.
21. Meditate.
22. Get exposure to sunlight. Exposing your skin and eyes to sunlight will give you Vitamin D, which can boost energy.
23. Try new things. Break your routine, learn something new, go on a spontaneous adventure to give yourself a fresh perspective.

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More by this author

Mike Fishbein

Mike is an enterpreneur and digital marketing leader.

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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