- If You Haven’t Been Sleeping Well… Here’s How to Change It!
- How to Hack Your Sleep – Sleep Less, Do More, Feel Better: Part 1
- How to Hack Your Sleep – Sleep Less, Do More, Feel Better: Part 2
- How to Hack Your Sleep – Sleep Less, Do More, Feel Better: Part 3
In the first parts of this series, we talked about why using and recognizing our natural tendencies as sleep-deprived humans can help us get more sleep, feel better, and get more done. Mostly, it’s through the use of naps, specifically and purposefully optimized and placed at a point in our day that provide us the benefits of the different sleep cycles. Depending on what we need, or have going on in our lives, that means we can use naps to give us more productivity, a quick motivational or focus-booster, and even let us “have two days in one,” as one Winston Churchill was known to have said regarding naps!
In this post, we’ll talk about the last steps needed to successfully implement a sleep schedule that allows for naps, and we’ll look at what ways can help us get to sleep, stay asleep, and feel better after we awake.
Whatever physiological variables we measure, we usually find that there is a maximum value at one time of day and a minimum value at another. Jurgen Aschoff, “Circadian Rhythms in Man,” Science, 1965.
Hacking Your Sleep
Sleep is great, but you might need extra help getting to sleep or staying asleep. Maybe it’s with the nap, maybe it’s with your nightly sleep—either way, here are some of the things that I’ve tried that help me fall asleep faster:
- Valerian Root (more for staying asleep, so you might not want to use this for shorter naps)
- Caffeine (great for short sessions. Try slamming two cups, falling asleep for twenty minutes, and waking up. WORLD DOMINATION MODE!!!)
- Music (I use Pandora.com loaded up with classical music—lyrics keep me awake)
- A book (a necessity before bed—I have to read every night)
- Baths (great for relaxing and calming down, but not realistic for most naps)
- Working out (again, like with caffeine, there’s a brief amount of time after a workout that I feel “chill,” a perfect nap condition, followed by rejuvenated energy, focus, and motivation)
And here’s a little of what doesn’t work for me (your mileage may vary):
- TV (some people can do it, but I can’t. TV gets my brain going or something.)
- “Chill” drinks, like Drank, can help, but not for me—the coldness I think wakes me up a little. They’re great for getting loosened up a bit, but I don’t recommend them for sleep preparation.
- External, uncontrollable events (if I can’t control it, it’s probably going to keep me from sleeping. Jackhammer? Check. Cute chirping birds? Check).
Putting it all together
Napping is a science; one that can be hacked and “figured out” like anything else. I’ve mentioned here the basic fundamentals of napping, as well as sleep in general—and it’s already pushing 2,000 words! Take some time and go through the web for some information on sleep phases, circadian rhythm, and sleep methods. Also, check out some books and research on the subject to really dig in and figure out what will work best for you and your situation.
The bottom line for me is this: It really doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, or what your daily life is like—we can all benefit from strategic napping, and all it takes is commitment to figuring it out and then giving it a shot. As with anything worthwhile, it takes a bit of practice, but take it from me: it’s well worth the effort—you will not be let down!
I’d love to discuss this subject more in the comments section—feel free to drop me a line, or if you’d like to subscribe to my ramblings, check out http://www.livehacked.com or just subscribe by clicking here.
Did you miss the first part? Read Part 1 here.