It's not just how much you sleep that matters-it's the quality
How's this for a daydream: You go to bed at a reasonable hour,
snuggle into a comfortable bed in a cool, quiet room and fall into
a deep sleep moments after your head hits the pillow. You sleep,
uninterrupted, for seven blissful hours. You wake up and feel
instantly refreshed. You spring out of bed and go about your day
without dozing off during your massage. You get everything done you
need to, and then some. You work out. You fix dinner. You read for
an hour on the couch. Then you head to the bedroom and do it all
again. Pinch me, right?
If that all sounds like a fantasy, try these tips from Massage
Envy member Laura Stack, MBA, CSP, president of The Productivity
Pro® Inc., consultant and author of Find More Time and Leave the
Office Earlier, to turn your dozing daydream into repose
1. Do the Mattress Math.
Do you operate by the following equation? Hours in day (24)
minus everything you have to do = whatever's left over for sleep.
"It isn't such a simple equation," Stack says. "You can't just take
two hours off your sleep every night and expect to add it on to
your productivity. "It's a false perception that you can get ahead
by getting less sleep," she explains. "If you were getting the
right amount of sleep, you'd blast through your day and get a lot
more done." Start to think of sleep as something you deserve, a
hard-earned reward at the end of a busy day.
2. Bed + Room = Bedroom.
Those home-décor catalogs have it right. Keep the TV, the
exercise equipment, the library and disruptive pets out of the
bedroom. "You should not be watching TV, working out, playing video
games, paying bills or even reading in your bed-I prefer that stuff
even be out of the bedroom," Stack says. You may feel drowsy, but
your brain is still firing on all cylinders. Fall asleep to the
soothing sound of a ceiling fan instead, or try earplugs if you
have a sleeping companion who snores. Picture it: pure peace and
quiet; a moment alone with your thoughts.
3. Work Out, Eat Up, Wind Down.
Stack recommends that you stop exercising four to five hours
before bed to give your body a chance to relax. Have your last meal
no less than two hours before bed. If your choices are working out
late or not at all, go for the workout. But think about how you can
reorganize your day so there's time enough to do all the things you
need to do. Before bed, do something nonstimulating such as
reading, crocheting, getting a Swedish massage or taking
a warm bath (see "Restful Rituals"). If you're already in the habit
of winding down before bed, you're on the right track. But make
sure you don't do these things in bed, Stack says. "You need your
brain to think, when I lie down in this bed, it's for sleeping."
Remember, you worked hard all day. You deserve deep, restorative
4. Kiss and Make Up (Tomorrow).
Maybe you can't resolve that conflict with your spouse right
now. At the very least, table it for tomorrow, Stack says. Practice
saying, "I want to talk about this, but I think we should do it
when we're both rested and in a good frame of mind. Can we discuss
this tomorrow?" Oh, and the kiss couldn't hurt.
- By Andrea Decker