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How to Optimize Sleep For Efficiency

Sleep is something that we will have to do every single day for the rest of our lives. We also sleep one-third of our lives. It goes without saying that optimizing our sleep can help us. Through optimal sleep, we can find a lot of extra time, energy, and positive results in our day-to-day life.

Sleep Efficiency and Optimizing Your Sleep

How much sleep do I need?

The most tantalizing idea we’ve heard is the myth of sleeping 8 hours. Sleep is such a complex process, it differs from one person to the next. Some people need shorter sleep hours, while others need longer sleep hours. The gist is this: anywhere between four to eleven hours of sleep can be normal.

What is important isn’t so much how much sleep we need, but getting the best quality of rest. You can sleep 12 hours each day. The problem is you won’t have your best sleep if you are disturbed.

How do I find out how much sleep I need?

Finding out how much sleep you need is a trial and error process. The most important principle is to listen to your body. You can make changes as you understand your exact sleep needs.

There are five factors you need to consider before you can find how much sleep you need:

  • whether you are experiencing any sleep or health issues
  • how dependent you are on caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine
  • how much sleep debt you currently have
  • how well you concentrate throughout the day (driving, work, etc.)
  • your state of mind and temper throughout the day (relationships, how you respond to problems, etc.)

Sleep or health issues

Sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, and REM sleep behavior disorder can have a negative impact to your sleep. Health conditions such as depression, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease can also disrupt sleep. Understanding how your sleep or health issues work. Speak to your doctor so you can make amendments to your sleeping arrangements. To get the best sleep possible is to take these conditions into consideration.

Daily substance use

Caffeine can help with fatigue and exhaustion. It can also mask underlying issues, making them difficult to diagnose. Along with alcohol and nicotine, caffeine can reduce the amount and quality of rest you can get. Cutting back might sound ludicrous. But doing so can help you find the baseline to your sleep. You can reduce the reliance on substances by making adjustments to your lifestyle.

Sleep debt

Your sleep debt is the amount of sleep deprivation you have accumulated over a period of time. This number does vary from person to person. Generally, sleeping poorly will land you a bigger sleep debt and sleep demand from your body and mind. Some people make up their sleep debt by napping; others might need to schedule a “sleep vacation”. To solve your sleep debt, continue a consistent bedtime and do not use an alarm to wake yourself up. You will sleep longer at first if you are sleep deprived, but over time the amount of sleep you need will level out. This is when you have caught up with your sleep debt. Also, you now know a little more on how much sleep you need!

Concentration

Concentration is another great indicator of whether you are getting enough rest. Check your concentration during work. Check it while doing a chore or other daily activities. You can make proper sleep adjustments knowing how well you are concentrating on tasks.

Emotions and mood

Sleep deprivation affects how well we control our impulses and our emotions. Throughout the day, we might have different moods for different situations. Getting an idea of how your mood is during different periods of your day will help you assess whether you are getting enough sleep. The better sleep you get, the better you can be at managing your temper.

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How to Find How Much Sleep You Need

Everyone’s sleep needs are different. Take the above 5 factors into consideration. They will give you a baseline on your current sleep patterns and help you make adjustments to improve your sleep. You can chart all five considerations in a spreadsheet or keep a sleep diary to track each factor.

Here are the steps for finding your sleep needs:

  1. Maintain a sleep diary. Take notes on the five factors mentioned above. You will also want to track how much sleep you get each night and how you feel after you wake up. It also helps to track yourself on a scale of 1 to 5: how well rested do you feel? how is your concentration? what is your energy level at? how is your mood?
  2. Take a sleep vacation. If life is catching you off guard too often, sometimes a vacation just for sleep is needed. Although not everyone can afford such a luxury, a “sleep vacation” can be a simple day without an alarm clock. You would go to bed the same time you normally do, but wake up without an alarm. The idea is to let your body’s circadian rhythm and natural sleep cycles wake you up naturally. You can mark down in your sleep diary how much sleep you got to give you a better idea of how much sleep you might need. This will help you catch up on any accumulated sleep debt from the week, too.
  3. Cut back on caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. Getting all three to 0 is important. It helps to cut any potential influences to your sleep and sleeping schedule to find its true baseline. Caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine can mask your sleep debt. Even if it doesn’t seem to, they can all affect your sleep quality and sleep efficiency in the wrong way.
  4. Repeat steps 1 to 3.


Sleep tip: Heard of the 90-minute rule? Although everyone’s sleep is different, our sleep patterns are made up of cycles that are roughly 90 minutes long. Waking up somewhere in between can give off a groggy feeling. A decent night of rest for the average adult is between 4 to 6 cycles. In other words, you might be looking for 6, 7 and a half, or 9 hours of sleep.

Optimizing your sleep involves collecting data. From that data, you can find valuable insights to your unique sleep schedule and patterns. Optimization also involves diagnosing the problems and root causes. Finding out what affects your sleep and resolving it lets you get the most out of your sleep each night. The practice of finding out how much sleep you need will be a useful tool throughout your life.

Once you figure out how much sleep you need, it’s time to optimize your sleep completely. The next section is a breakdown on the steps to take for optimizing your sleep.

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How To Optimize My Night Of Sleep

Once you have an idea of what your baseline is, it’s time to get the most out of every sleep session. Here is how to optimize sleep for efficiency every night:

  1. Make your sleep a priority. It’s easy to let your sleep debt creep in. Staying up for an extra 15 minutes can turn into 1 hour. You might find yourself waking up earlier, eating an extra meal before bed, or drinking an extra coffee too close to bedtime. All these behaviors can sneak up on you and influence your sleep in the wrong way. Staying committed to your sleep means feeling better, being sharper, happier, and healthier. Focus on your sleep and protect your sleep time.
  2. Continue practice finding your sleep needs. Keeping an up-to-date sleep diary. Schedule sleep vacations to find and fix your sleep debt. Cut back on the use of caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. It will be tough and inconvenient, but all these little acts will go the long way in helping your sleep. You also collect actionable insights to improve your sleep. You might also find ways to strategically use caffeine throughout the day. But no alcohol or nicotine, please! You can also take this time to pick your bedtime based on when you would like to wake up. For example, let’s say you need 9 hours of sleep each night. If you need to wake up at 6 a.m., then climbing into bed before 9 p.m. will be essential.
  3. Practice good sleep hygiene. There are two parts to good sleep hygiene: 1) your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet, and 2) your bedroom is only used for sex and sleep. The ideal temperature for most adults is 60-65°F (16-18°C). Some people might live in a noisy area and need white noise. Keep from climbing into bed with your phone. Placing it as far away as possible is best. And get rid of that television set in your bedroom!
  4. Make your evenings and bedtime routine. Once you have a strong idea of what the best amount of sleep is for you, it’s all about building that habit. A typical routine before bed tells your body and mind that it’s time to sleep. As long as your routine is simple and easy, you can relax then rest easier in your sleep. Writing in a journal, plan the next day, meditating, yoga, and reading a book are good routines to have. Deep breathing exercises and mindfulness practices can also improve your sleep efficiency. Just remember one thing: no screen time!
  5. Revisit this guide from time to time. Not to toot our own horn, but we naturally slip up occasionally. Life isn’t perfect and emergencies happen. When we do let our sleep debt creep up, it’s always worth revisiting the basics and fundamentals on optimizing your sleep. Bookmark this webpage so you never lose it. If you do need us, we’ll be here!

We hope this guide helps you get better at sleeping. We looked at how to find out how much sleep you need, then how to optimize it once you have established a clean baseline.

These steps might seem simple, but spending time on them and doing them right is the difficult part. Take the time to find your best sleep because you will sleep a third of your life. It might make the other two-thirds of your wakeful time pleasant!

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