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23 Tips For Getting More Out of Less Sleep

23 Tips For Getting More Out of Less Sleep
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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.

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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 July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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