Sneak More Sleep
Sneaking In More Sleep
Today's busy lifestyles have led to overworked and extremely sleep-deprived woman. Not only does a lack of sleep leave you feeling incredibly miserable, but it can have a serious effect on your overall health. First, your skin will suffer since dead cells shed and new ones appear while you sleep.
You'll be left with dull, tired looking skin. Sleep deprivation also leads to obesity because the lack of sleep causes your body to stop producing the hormone that regulates your appetite. And finally, you're at a greater risk of inflammation that can lead to heart disease. Clearly sleep is even more important than most people realize, but there are a few ways that you can sneak more sleep, about 30-60 minutes of extra sleep each day.
Don't Hit Snooze
While this may seem counter-productive, you actually make yourself groggier with every smack of the snooze button. When you wake up the first time, you are more awake and alert-even if you don't feel like it. As you keep falling back asleep for 10 minutes at a time, you are only doing yourself more harm than good. So skip the snooze and save those precious minutes for an afternoon nap.
If you think about your day, you will likely find that you are almost always doing more than one thing at a time. Women have become champions at multitasking, so why not make this skill work for you so that you can get to bed earlier and sneak more sleep?
Here are some ideas:
- Get yourself a Bluetooth set so that you can take care of phone calls while you drive instead of having to find the time to do it when you get home
- While you may roll your eyes at the ever increasing number of smart phone carrying people, they may have figured out something that you haven't. A smart phone allows you to handle a million things at once, no matter where you are. Your son's soccer practice ran late? Pull out your blackberry and send those last minute e-mails, upload that picture to Facebook, check tomorrow's schedule and text your husband to find out what time he'll be home for dinner. Now you can skip an hour or more staring at your computer screen when you get home.
- Consider working through lunch so that you have more free time once you get home. Eat your lunch in your office so that you can catch up on work, pay bills, or do anything else that will let you relax later.
- Map out your day to make your travel time as efficient as possible. There may be a few minor adjustments you can make to spend less time in traffic and more time at home.
Nix the Evening Caffeine
While your body may need that coffee jumpstart in the morning, it also needs time to wind down in the evening. Certain caffeinated drinks can take close to 24 hours to be completely out of your system, which means you are still wide awake at midnight when you have to be awake again at 6 am. Skip the afternoon coffee date and put down the Coke at dinner; your body will thank you for it later.
We all begin feeling the effects of a long day somewhere between 4 and 7 pm. That's usually the time that we want to curl up on the couch and crash; and that's the absolute worst time for it. The evening hours are too close to bedtime and a long nap can mean lying awake all night.
Try to sneak more sleep during 1 and 3 pm, and limit the time you are actually asleep to about 15 minutes. These little power naps are all you need to feel alert and get through the rest of your day.
Make the Most of Your Evenings
One of the best things you can do for yourself in the evening is to prepare as much as possible for the next day. If you know that everything is ready to go for the morning, you can relax and get an extra hour of sleep. Use any and all extra time to your advantage; pack the kids' lunches while dinner is cooking or while cleaning up after.
Set out everything you need for the next day so that it takes as little time as possible to get ready. The more you can prepare ahead of time, the better. Lay out your clothes, shoes, and accessories. Get your handbag ready, know what you are going to prepare for breakfast, have the kids' stuff ready. Anything that you can do the night before will mean you get to sleep in that much longer.
Have a Set Bedtime and Stick to it
You know what time you have to get the kids to school, what time you have to be at work, and how long it takes to get everyone ready in the morning, but do you know how much sleep you should be getting? It's imperative that you get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night, so figure out what time you need to go to bed in order to make sure you get that. While establishing a bedtime, also try and set a time for you to wind down in the evening.
Taking a warm shower or bath can help you relax before bed. Wearing a warm pair of socks also adjusts your body's temperature and puts you into relaxation mode which allows you to fall asleep quickly. Moms are busy people with more than full plates, so it's important for you to sneak more sleep in every way you can.
Sneak More Sleep
Updated October 26, 2011