Optimal Sleep for Optimal Living. According to Dr. James B. Mass if you want to be alert, dynamic, full of energy, in a good mood, productive, creative, healthy, have good concentration, a good memory, and good decision making skills then you need to get optimal sleep. Without the proper amount of sleep the body can’t function properly, while we sleep our bodies do an amazing amount of work. We need to make sure that we are getting enough sleep to ensure that our bodies will be at their best. Dr. James B. Mass gives us The Golden Rules of Sleep, four rules that seem simple and easy. But, with roughly 62% of Americans reporting that they experience sleep problems more than one night per week and another 70 million people suffering from insomnia, it’s harder to follow The Golden Rules than we may think.
- Get an Adequate Amount of Sleep Every Night.
The amount of sleep needed each night differs from person to person, if you get tired or sleepy anytime throughout the day then you’re probably not getting enough sleep at night. At minimum the majority of people need to obtain at least 60 – 90 minutes more sleep a night than what they are getting now. A study by Dr. Roth at Henry Ford Hospital found that sleeping one hour longer boosted a person’s alertness by 35%, and that’s just one of many benefits of sleep!
- Establish a Regular Sleep Schedule.
A regular sleep schedule involves going to bed and waking up without an alarm clock every morning, including the weekends. Keeping a regular schedule will make you feel more alert than sleeping the same amount of time but at differing hours across the week and weekend. Benjamin Franklin said “ Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” But in reality it’s better to say “Consistently to rise…” it doesn’t matter when you fall asleep or wake, its duration and regularity that counts.
- Get Continuous Sleep.
For your sleep to be most rejuvenating you should get your required amount of sleep in one continuous block, if sleep is disrupted it will cause you to be drowsy during the day. For example, six hours of continuous sleep is better and more restorative than eight hours of fragmented sleep. Be aware that if you’re not getting good sleep at night and you start dozing off during the day to make up for the loss sleep that it may cause you not to sleep good again that night, causing a vicious cycle that can be hard to break.
- Make Up for Lost Sleep
We are living in a 24 hour society and along with work deadlines, vacations, holidays, and social events it’s a given that our sleep bank accounts will be in debt from time to time. Occasional late nights won’t do much damage, but reducing sleep by one hour every night for seven nights has the same effect as staying awake for 24 consecutive hours once a week. That one hour a night doesn’t seem like much until it’s accumulated over the span of the week. It’s important for us to repay our sleep debt in a timely fashion and make up for our lost sleep as soon as possible. It’s also important to remember that you can’t make up for all your lost sleep at once, it’s the same as eating whatever you want throughout the week and exercising one day that weekend, it just doesn’t work and the same goes for sleep.
Maas, Dr. James B., Megan L. Wherry, David J Axelrod, Barbara R. Hogan, and Jennifer A. Blumin. Power Sleep: The Revolutionary Program That Prepares Your Mind for Peak Performance. New York : Villard, 1998.
“Sleeping Disorder Statistics.” Statistic Brain. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2013. <http://www.statisticbrain.com/sleeping-disorder-statistics/>.