Friday, February 15, 2008

Sleeping Secrets For Busy People

Are you that person who can't make time to sleep for a solid 8 hours?

If you think you lack sleep, nap for up to 20 minutes when you can between work and going out to let your body recover. Do NOT play catch up sleeps on the weekend because it doesn't help. This is according to Sarah Mednick, PH.D. and author of "Take a Nap! Change Your Life."

If it takes you that long just to fall asleep, try cultivating a ritual that trains your brain to relax quickly. Sleep can affect your mood drastically. If you are deprived of sleep, it interferes with your emotional regulation, which gives you higher highs and lower lows. During sleep, your body has a chance to readjust its hormone levels and repair itself. For example, cortisol, the stress hormone, decreases.

There are other kinds of benefits you can get from napping. Customize your naps according to how you need it. Generally, napping earlier in the day provides more REM sleep, for creativity. Dozing off later in the day will enter you into a slow-wave sleep, which clears your mind. To benefit from both, you need at least 45 minutes. But 20 minutes anytime of the day gets you to "stage 2" sleep, which helps with concentration.