The shorter your sleep, the shorter your life,” as Walker starkly puts it. As far as how to improve your sleep and, with luck, elongate your life, he has two main pieces of advice: “Go to bed at the same time, wake up at the same time, no matter whether it’s the weekday or the weekend,” and “aim for a bedroom temperature of around 65 degrees, or about 18 degrees Celsius,” slightly cooler than may feel normal.Source
Whether you’re heading to class or just trying to learn a new skill, making sure you’re well-rested beforehand can make a big difference, research from Berkeley suggests. A study done at the school found that sleeping for an hour dramatically boosts and restores brain power, in turn making it easier to learn and retain new information. Sleep clears out our short-term memory, making room for new information and priming us to be better, more efficient learners.Source
Not only, for example, do “you need sleep after learning to essentially hit the save button on those new memories so that you don’t forget,” you also “need sleep before learning to actually prepare your brain, almost like a dry sponge ready to initially soak up new information.”Source
Ditch Checking the Clock at Night
Staring at a clock in your bedroom, either when you are trying to fall asleep or when you wake in the middle of the night, can actually increase stress, making it harder to fall asleep. Turn your clock’s face away from you. And if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep in about 20 minutes, get up and engage in a quiet, restful activity such as reading or listening to music. And keep the lights dim; bright light can stimulate your internal clock. When your eyelids are drooping and you are ready to sleep, return to bed.Source
How to take a “power nap”Source
✓ Napping can be refreshing but can also disrupt your circadian rhythm (the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle). To get the maximum benefit with the least disruption:
• Try to time your nap about 8 hours after you wake up.
• Try to sleep for around 20-30 minutes. This keeps you within the early, lighter
stages of sleep.
• Really sleep-deprived? Nap for a full sleep cycle of 90 minutes.
• If sleep problems persist for more than 2 weeks, contact a medical professional.
Ease the transition from wake time to sleep time with a period of relaxing activities an hour or so before bed. Take a bath (the rise, then fall in body temperature promotes drowsiness), read a book, watch television, or practice relaxation exercises. Avoid stressful, stimulating activities—doing work, discussing emotional issues. Physically and psychologically stressful activities can cause the body to secrete the stress hormone cortisol, which is associated with increasing alertness. If you tend to take your problems to bed, try writing them down—and then putting them aside.SOURCE
Make The Bedroom a Sleep Zone
A quiet, dark, and cool environment can help promote sound slumber. Why do you think bats congregate in caves for their daytime sleep? To achieve such an environment, lower the volume of outside noise with earplugs or a “white noise” appliance. Use heavy curtains, blackout shades, or an eye mask to block light, a powerful cue that tells the brain that it’s time to wake up. Keep the temperature comfortably cool—between 60 and 75°F—and the room well ventilated. And make sure your bedroom is equipped with a comfortable mattress and pillows. (Remember that most mattresses wear out after ten years).