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Unformatted text preview: S L E E P JAMES B. MAAS J a me s B . M a a s , P h D, i s a S t e p h e n H. W e i s s Presidential Fellow, Professor, and past Chairman of Psychology at Cornell University. He is the recipient of the American Psychological Association's Outstanding Educator Award and the author of Power Sleep. T R E A T I N G sleep as a necessity rather than a luxury is the secret to being a peak performer. When you don't get proper sleep, you experience daytime drowsiness, increased stress, feel- ings of lethargy, mood shifts, weight gain, reduced immunity to disease and viral infection, and lowered productivity, concentra- tion, and memory. Even modest sleep deprivation can seriously affect your general health and longevity! How do you know if you are getting proper sleep? Answer the following questions: Do I need an alarm clock in order to wake up at the appropriate time? Do I often fall asleep in boring meetings or in warm rooms, after heavy meals, or when watching TV? Do I often fall asleep within 5 minutes of getting into bed? Do I often sleep extra hours on weekend mornings? Do I feel tired during the day? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it's likely you need more sleep. THE GOLDEN RULES OF SLEEP 1. GET PROPER SLEEP Identify the amount of sleep you need to be fully alert all day long and get that amount every night. For most adults, it's 8 hours. For teenagers, it's 9.25 hours. 2. ESTABLISH A REGULAR SLEEP SCHEDULE Go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up (without an alarm clock) at the same time every morningincluding weekends. 3. GET CONTINUOUS SLEEP For sleep to be rejuvenating, you should get your required amount of sleep in one continuous block. Any nicotine or caffeine after 2 P.M. or alcohol within 3 hours of bedtime will disrupt your sleep. 4. MAKE UP FOR LOST SLEEP For every 2 hours awake, you add 1 hour of debt to your sleep debt bank accountthat is, it takes 8 hours of sleep to restore 16 hours of waking activity. You cannot make up for large sleep losses during the week by sleeping in on weekends any more than you can make up for lack of reg- ular exercise and overeating during the week by working out and dieting only on the weekends. To make up for lost sleep, you might consider a power nap: taken midday and limited to 20 minutes. SLEEP STRATEGIES 1. KEEP YOUR BEDROOM QUIET, DARK, AND COOL Sleep on a mattress with individual pocketed coils that reduce motion transfer, or a foam mattress designed to support your back properly. Use a high-quality down pillow. 2. REDUCE STRESS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE Even if you are sleep-deprived, anxiety can delay sleep onset. Try relax- ation exercises. Have a "worry time" before going to sleep by writing down your concerns. Your worries then won't interfere with sleep onset or wake you up during the night. Don't watch TV or surf the Internet within 2 hours of bedtime. Take a warm bath before bed. Reading for pleasure before turning off the lights will also ease you into sleep....
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- Spring '09