Meeting the daily demands of your busy schedule means you will find it hard to get decent sleep on most of the days. Sleeping for less than the recommended number of hours normally takes a huge toll on your normal functionality.
You start to develop irregular mood swings, stress becomes the norm, and your mental sharpness starts to depreciate. To keep yourself from coming down with sleep deprivation, there are steps you can take to bounce back from your chronic sleep losses.
Developing a healthy sleeping schedule improves the quality of your sleep and life in general. It starts by being able to sleep more than 6 hours per day. But perhaps you have been asking yourself this question “what should I do to sleep more than 6 hours per day?”
In this post, I will explain to you how to get the right number of sleeping hours that ensures you stay alert throughout the day.
Hacks On How to Get More Than 6 Hours of Sleep Every Night
The need for sleep is still a little baffling even for scientists. What is clear though is that we need abundant, regular sleep to thrive. While the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep every night seems fantastic, it is easier said than done.
Luckily, there are sleep hacks to help you get at least 6 hours of snooze time. Some of them are simple lifestyle changes that shouldn’t be a problem adjusting to.
1. Develop a Sleeping Routine
From the time we are born, our bodies get used to operating on a routine. It is because of this nature that you have the sleeping problem in the first place as you already developed the routine over time. To get back on track, you need to get out of the monotony and develop a new one.
Sticking to a sleeping rhythm by going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day is a good way of starting. In this way, your body gets conditioned on what time it is supposed to get into a sleep mode and the subsequent waking up time.
Having a sleeping schedule helps to regulate your internal clock that in turn makes adjustments for making the quality of your sleep better. Basically, this hack eliminates sleep irregularity that has been proven to decrease the quality of sleep you get every day.
You can start by creating a routine where you grab a meal, take a shower, listen to music, then go to bed. Every time you take a shower and lay on your mattress, your brain is triggered to prepare you for sleep.
2. Turn The Bedroom Environment Cave-Like
According to the National Sleep Foundation, there are ideal conditions in which an individual achieves the highest quality of sleep. This description includes the declaration that a cave-like environment is the best sleeping environment for sleep deprived you.
Your bedroom (or wherever you sleep), has to be dark, quiet and cool. If you have a thermostat, then set it to a temperature ranging from 60-67 degree Fahrenheit. This temperature range is cool enough to trick your body into a sense of coziness that makes you fall asleep faster.
Make the room dark by switching off all the lights. Similarly, blackout curtains add to the darkness of the room. Have the alarm face the other direction to prevent the light from startling you in your sleep.
Another consideration for an ideal sleeping environment is a white noise machine. Alternatively, there are free apps you can use to achieve the same goals. These white noises mask sharp noises that could potentially jar you from sleep.
3. No Screen Contact Before You Go to Sleep
In as much as it may be hard to conform to, switching off all the sources of lights is mandatory if you want to get more than 6 hours of sleep. Light has a critical influence on the human circadian rhythm, which controls the internal body clock. This is the rhythm responsible for the sleep-wake cycles.
To put it in simpler terms, the absence of light signals the body that it is time to sleep. On the other hand, light makes the body think it is time to wake up and be alert. It does not have to be a meaningful source of light. Even a cell phone, tablet, or television glow is enough to produce the same effect as sunlight.
Enforce a no screen policy in your sleep routine for a couple of hours before you go to bed. Alongside enforcing your sleep-wake rhythms, shutting down all your devices restrains you from checking both emails and social media. These are known sleep disruption agents and stress.
4. Schedule Your Sleep with Your Sleep Cycles in Mind
Your sleep comprises of a series of stages involving the body and the brain. Part of the functions and activities includes the involvement in both rapid eye movement sleep and non-rapid eye movement sleep. Each of these stages of sleep helps the brain to recover during sleep.
It is, therefore, important that you get to experience both sleep stages. Typically, as an adult, you have a sleep cycle every 90 minutes. Thus, when working out how many hours of sleep you need, you should factor in these sleep cycles.
For example, if you intend to sleep for 6 hours and wake up at around six, then plan to be asleep by midnight. Essentially, you will be preparing your body to be woken up by the alarm just as you are completing the fourth sleep cycle.
Waking up at the end of a cycle is more refreshing than waking up in the middle or beginning of a 90-minute cycle. For better planning, there are sleep calculators that can help you plan better your sleep cycles.
5. Add Routine Exercise to Your Daily Routines
A countless number of research has it that regularly exercising improves the sleep quality you get. One of the simplest explanations is that exercising wears down your body, making it easier to fall asleep. Also, exercising reduces stress levels, depression, and anxiety, which are all sleep suppressing agents.
Note that exercising right before going to bed is counterproductive. It makes you too energetic and warm to comfortably fall asleep. In case you have a chronic case of insomnia, then exercising takes some time to fall asleep. However, approximately four months of regularly working out, you should start to sleep with more ease and for longer.
6. Take Light Snacks Before Bedtime
Just in case you must have a meal before going to bed, stick away from heavy foods. Either the food could be heavy or too spicy to be quickly digested by the body. These difficult to digest foods often disrupt your sleeping cycles and sleep routines.
For your late night snacks appetite, consider taking a food-rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that aids you in getting the requisite sleeping hours. Examples of such foods include bananas, nuts, or any other dairy products.
Have been holding on that night cheese idea for so long? Well, as it so appears, this might be actually a very good idea in helping you sleep like a baby.
7. No Alcohol Before Sleeping
You have probably heard that alcohol is a good sedative to help you fall asleep. Well, that may be right, but it won’t keep you asleep for very long. The reason being, alcohol disrupts your sleep cycles, especially the REM sleep. In the process, you struggle to remain awake.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism warns against taking alcohol for at least 6 hours before you go to bed. Otherwise, your bedtime routine will be messed up big time.
The key takeaway here is to avoid alcohol altogether just before going to bed completely. Insomnia patients should also desist from your frequent happy-hour cocktail sessions.
8. Stay Away from Caffeine
Unless you are planning to cut your sleep from over 11 hours to about 6 hours, then you might want to switch to decaffeinated coffee in the afternoon. Caffeine, which is a stimulant, disrupts sleeping time, more so when taken as bedtime nears.
A study conducted in 2013 found out that taking caffeine induced drinks about 6 hours before going to sleep still remains in your bloodstream. The remaining amount is still significant to disrupt your normal sleep.
It might be hard to stop your afternoon and evening soda, coffee, and tea, but if you want to sleep for more than 66 hours, then you have to make the switch. I think decaffeinated coffee or herbal tea are still worthy drinks to have, while still remaining sleepy when it reaches bedtime.
9. No Nicotine
Sincerely, there is an endless list of reasons why you should quit smoking cigarettes. Cigars do you no good, and to top it all, here is another reason to quit smoking them.
Cigarettes contain nicotine which like caffeine is a stimulant. And what stimulants do is keep you awake for as much as you want. Isn’t that the reason you take coffee to take you through the night as you complete the report due the following day?
Therefore, restrain from having a puff since this would curtail your ability to sleep peacefully throughout the night. More worryingly, if you are a smoker, you have higher chances of developing obstructive sleep apnea as well as being restless in your sleep.
10. Have in Mind How Long You Take to Fall Asleep
Most of the time, people fail to factor in how long it takes them to fall asleep. Unless you are extremely exhausted when going to sleep, no one sleeps immediately after hitting their foam pillows. On an average, it should take you between 10 and 20 minutes to fall asleep.
This time duration is referred to as sleep latency and it plays a key role in getting you more than 6 hours of sleep. Do not try to hurry into sleep, but rather, let nature take its course. In case you are planning your schedules, give yourself the time to fall asleep first.
11. Try Meditation
Still can’t get to sleep for over 6 hours, then meditation could be your way out because it trains yourself to relax. In a way, it helps you sleep better at night. Meditation also improves brain functionality, which is imperative for a good night’s sleep.
What should I do to sleep more than 6 hours per day? This article has addressed everything you may need to know. Having as much sleep as you need (but not too much) is important if you want to stay rested and healthy. Since it can be impossible to get this much sleep on occasions, you may be required to undertake a raft of lifestyle changes to sleep better. Minimizing caffeine, screen time, and creating the ideal sleeping environment are key.