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Get Quality Sleep in Fewer Hours

Who needs more sleep? Be honest! Really, if we were all totally honest with ourselves, we all will admit we need more sleep. Interestingly, the idea that we need more sleep is not necessarily true; rather, we need deep, quality, restful sleep to be at our very best.

The number of hours each person requires for sleep varies from 5 ½ hours to 8 hours per night, roughly. The average amount of sleep most people need per night is around 7 to 7 ½ hours. The quality of sleep you get however is really what matters over the amount of time you’re asleep.

Imagine how much you could accomplish in your day if you felt alert and awake rather than thinking about heading back to bed every minute of the day.

How can you get quality sleep in a shorter amount of time?

1. Soak up the morning sunlight – something about the sunlight in the morning is rejuvenating and it naturally regulates your circadian rhythm, which re-sets our body to be ready for sleep when it's supposed to. A great way to get some sun first thing in the morning is to go walking or jogging or take a few minutes to sit on your porch and eat breakfast.

2. How many hours do you need? Figuring out how many hours of sleep you personally need is the first step toward getting the deep sleep required to feel energized and stay healthy. Some people need a mere 5 ½ hours sleep whereas another person may require closer to 8 ½ hours of sleep to feel fully functional. Some researchers feel that our genes carry messages that tell our body how many hours of sleep it needs, so it's a very individual thing. Get the amount of sleep you need!

3. Exercise your brain – do something outside your normal activity to stimulate the brain. Learn a new language, memorize a passage of your favorite book, hike up a mountain, or simply try a new skill to get your brain thinking in a different direction than what it's used to. Your body will respond by sleeping deeper if your brain has had some activity that is not routine!

4. Maintain a routine – try to get to bed at the same time every night and rise at the same time each morning so your body learns to expect when it gets to sleep. This includes weekends!

5. Wake to music rather than jarring loud sounds – awakening to music that puts you in a good mood has a very positive affect on your body and your mind, making for a great start to your day. Using music instead of loud beeping or siren-like sounds also wakes you more naturally.

6. Lower the lights toward evening – get your body in the mood for sleep by slowly limiting the lights around the house. This allows your body to gradually feel tired and you'll naturally start to feel sleepy enough to go to bed. When you do feel this way – do it right then so you don't push your body past the point of entering the sleep cycle.

The best way to get more sleep without taking more time to do so is to figure out what works best for your body and then do those things consistently until you're on a healthy routine.

More sleep? Maybe … but quality sleep is better!

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