By Dr. Matthew Edlund author of THE POWER OF REST: Why Sleep Alone is Not Enough
- Sleep is like making love – enjoy it. Where else do you get to dream every night? Pre-dream – imagine before you sleep what kind of dreams you would like – then see what happens.
- You need to rest before you sleep. If you’re hyperaroused, worried, even concerned about sleep, it doesn’t occur. Try to take an hour before bed to get really relaxed and mentally refreshed.
- The amount of you sleep you need is what you need to feel fully rested. Figure this out on weekends or vacations if your workday is too rushed. Some people need three hours, some nine, most of us around eight.
- Sleep where you’re comfortable. Your bed, futon, mattress should be inviting, the room dark, cool, quiet.
- Wake up at the same time every day. Time rules life. Body clocks powerfully control when you wake and do your best at most activities. Listen to them – they’ll help you a lot.
- Go to bed at the same time every day. Your highly genetic body clocks don’t know about the weekend. Let them synchronize so you’ll feel better, perform better – and look better.
- Control light. Light resets body clocks, timing your life precisely. At night you want things dark – but as soon as you wake up you want to let in the light to help wake up your cold brain.
- The fitter you are, the better you’ll sleep. One quick way to make yourself fit – follow FAR, Food-Activity-Rest, as a musical rhythm to the day. Every time you eat, you move – which can really slim your waistline.
- Clear up and cool your mind before you sleep. Set a pattern to the hour before sleep – lay down next day’s clothing, floss and brush your teeth, read (especially books like “The Power of Rest”) – that prepare you for the wondrous rebuilding of sleep.
- Sleep is just one part of daily rest. If you can actively rest at different times of the day, you’ll probably sleep well at night.
As a specialized type of rest, sleep also helps renew the immune system, rebuild memory, enhance learning, prevent heart disease, and improve mood. The results of sleep are so exciting, you really want to follow the sleep rules – and make sleep fun.