Friday, February 11, 2011

8 Ways to Get Good Sleep

It is interesting how SEO is changing and becoming more mainstream. NY Times even had an article on it. One of my portfolio companies is SEO Pledge.

I usually read business and self help books (since I need so much self help). Last night I read one that is slightly out of that genre although the title (Emotional Freedom - Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life) sounds like a regular self help book.

The author - Judith Orloff shares much of her personal story. This makes the book more gripping.

The first Chapter has an awesome title - Emotional Freedom - The Secret to Serenity. The rest of the book basically goes on to backfill how to implement these secrets.

Part 2 of the book "Tools for Liberation" covers 7 transformations that must happen for serenity:

1 - Facing fear - building courage
2 - Facing frustration, disappointment and building patience
3 - Facing loneliness - building connection
4 - Facing anxiety and worry - Building inner calm
5 - Facing depression - building hope
6 - Facing jealousy and envy - building self esteem
7 - Facing anger - building compassion

As with everything, there may be answers but making them into reality is always the real challenge. Orloff gives examples and practical tips to try to achieve each transformation.

One point the book makes is the importance of sleep. Of course the book was interesting enough that I stayed up to read it so it hurt my sleep.

I believe that part of maturing and wisdom is being able to change your view on things.

I am embarrassed to say in the first four editions of my time management book "Time Leadership - Using the Secrets of Leadership for Time Management" I suggested that sleeping less was a great way to create more time. I have yet to publish the 5th edition (Know any good publishers who might like to publish it?) but will definitely change those sections.

Huffington Post has a good video on the Cult of No Sleep.

Mayo Clinic says you need 7 hours to be healthy. I strive for that although would not yet be there.

There is lots of studies on the health impact on sleep deprivation.

I now know that we need some optimum number of good sleep hours and I now even include that on my goal list.

Top 8 Ways to Get Good Sleep

1 - Have a good place to sleep. Cool enough, dark enough, with a good mattress etc. A small amount of investment and planning can make a huge difference.

2 - Avoid drugs. The obvious ones - caffeine and alcohol both impact sleep.

3 - If getting to sleep is a problem, learn to still the mind. Some ways to do this include progressive relaxation and meditation.

4 - Avoid "mindless" end of day activities that are too easy to keep doing. The most obvious one of these (that is not a problem for me since I have no TV) is TV. Computer games can have the same effect.

5 - Have a going to bed ritual. I find I cannot get to sleep easily if I do not give myself a bit of wind down time before bed.

6 - Try not to eat too late. I tend to have a problem with this one since I often do not get home until late. I often eat dinner at 8:30 or 9 and know this is too late.

7 - The obvious - go to bed early. Sounds simple but it takes planning.

8 - Learn to nap. This one is a bit of do as I say because I can go weeks without napping. That said, I do know how to nap well. I like napping for just 21 minutes. I can get up without feeling groggy and 21 minutes is not enough to make me feel guilty.

9 - Exercise. I like to exercise first thing in the morning. exercising too close to bed keeps me awake. In my SYNNEX CEO days I would take the redeye back from California and run for an hour. That run revved me up enough to stay up for the day.

Please add your comments with other ways to get a good sleep and I will recompile them into a future post.


At 2:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ask per Dr. Oz

Drink cherry juice or eat cherries before bed to help you sleep faster.
Cherries provide a concentrated source of melatonin, a potent antioxidant produced naturally by the body's pineal gland that helps regulate biorhythm and natural sleep patterns. Eating cherries can be a natural way to boost your body's melatonin levels to hasten sleep.

At 3:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sleep is important. And, how much you need depends on how inspired you cause yourself to be about your life.

Those who cause themselves to be inspired need less sleep than those who who do not.

You are among those who cause yourself to be inspired. That means that you need 25% less sleep than someone who is not in that category.

Additionally, those who meditate need less sleep. 15 minutes of relaxing meditation is like 2 hours of restful sleep. I recommend that you learn and practice meditation daily ahead of sleeping two more hours.

At 2:08 PM, Anonymous HelĂ©ne said...

Interesting topic Jim.

"Peace in mind" is the the best way to sleep well, in my opinion. Make sure you solve, or at least list, things which worries you before going to sleep, in order to liberate your mind. Your body and soul need a good sleep to feed you with energy.

Accept that every individual has a different biorythm, some people need to sleep 5 hours, others 10 hours, some are earlybirds and others nightowls.

Make sure you can sleep without interruptions (small kids, partner with other sleeping habits than yours, etc., noise or light).

Agree with all the other Top 8.

In France it is frequent to find job adverts searching for "executives with good sleeping capabilities", since it's proven that people with good sleep, are more efficient, more stress resistent and more creative. Some companies even perform a sleep test before hiring executives.

What about Sleep Therapists for the Future?

At 11:17 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Dear Jim,

Fantastic to hear you finally extoll the virtues of sleep. Now I can truly recommend your book to everyone without hesitation (on the proviso that they read this post as well - until your 5th edition comes out that is).

My suggestions to add to future sleep posts:

1) Understand how much sleep you actually need. Each sleep cycle is approximately 90 minutes long. Most people need 5 cycles. To determine how much you should sleep (it is unique to each of us) do the following for a week; go to bed earlier than usual and wake up without an alarm clock. Make sure you go to bed at the same time every day. Track your waking time.
2) Go to bed at the same time every night. Sleep is like any good habit, it takes 21 days to form. Make sleep a daily priority.
3) Make sure your room is blacked out. Your skin (not just your eyes) have melatonin receptors. This means that any light in your bedroom will interfere with proper sleep (even if you put on one of those airline style seep masks).
4) Lose weight. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is highly correlated to weight gain and the best defence is keeping trim. OSA affects at least 1 in 10 men over the age of 30. If you snore heavily or are a restless sleeper get yourself to a sleep lab for a polysomnogram.
5) Keep your room temperature cool. This promotes the best quality of sleep.

Would love to see your updated post on this (or maybe even an expanded section in a republish of your book?).


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