- The majority of the population need 7.5 – 9 hrs sleep (which means a big % of the population are sleep deprived).
- Deep sleep, as opposed to interrupted or restless sleep, is essential for the mind to process short term to long term information (miss this and your brain will feel full, muddled and be less effective).
- The body needs deep sleep to carry out the billions of repair and rejuvenation functions for optimum health.
- Your body LOVES to rise with the sun and wind down when it gets dark. Go to bed earlier, so you can rise earlier. I recently interviewed Octavio Salvado (a yogi with a good Aussie name) who said rising with the sun is one of his Top 3 Happiness Tips and was a key teaching in yoga for 1000’s of years.
- Stimulants like caffeine obviously affect most peoples depth and quality of sleep. Ease up on the caffeine later in the day.
- To sleep better, keep to a regular routine, so the body gets used to the cycle.
Mini breaksIf you want to be most productive, which is one of the keys to success, you need to create a balance between focused effort and rest. The greatest athletes exert explosive power, but know they cannot sustain their performance over the long-term is they also do not master rest.There are different productivity teachings on how to be most productive and creative in your normal working day. All of them suggest a combination of focused effort, followed by a break.
Some teach a 45 min power burst followed by 15 min break (away from the desk); which I think is a pretty good model. I also like a 90 min burst – if I am writing – followed by a 15-30 min break. With this combination of focused effort and total break, our level of productivity and quality work is likely to rise.
Don’t sit ‘at it’ for longer than 2 hours straight as your productivity, and the quality of your output is likely to suffer.
Macro breaks – my favourite!
We live in a crazy, busy, stressful and overstimulated world. Our minds and nervous system especially need a rest. This means weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly and even longer sabbaticals every bunch of years.
So here are my Tips:
- For optimum health you need to have at least one day off a week where you not only don’t work, but disconnect from most ‘technology’ (no emails allowed).
- Every month, aim to take a 2-4 day break and again, aim for no work and limited technology.
- Give yourself a decent break every few months – you deserve it and I can assure you, you will have fun. A great option for this is to do a ‘retreat’ on one of these breaks. Like our Raw and Radiant Retreat for example. 😉 Taking a retreat that involves a formal retreat (stepping away) from the normal stressors of life, I believe, is one of the keys to longevity and graceful aging. Another great option is getting involved in a charity project.
- You need a longer break each year, that lasts long enough to allow you to switch off from the usual work issues and thinking.
In summaryIf you are not getting enough sleep or taking enough breaks to let the mind and body repair and rejuvenate themselves, you are likely to have less optimum health (getting sick easier), poorer mental clarity, but also you are likely age more quickly. None of which sound like a lot of fun to me.On the other hand if you make a point of switching off the TV earlier, get those 7.5-9hrs sleep each night, and rise with the sun (and melatonin’s natural signal), you are helping your mind and body to rejuvenate and regenerate at a cellular level. You will be clearer, more productive, more creative, more energetic and likely to look 10 years younger than your chronological age. Have I got your attention now?!?And finally. Make time for breaks. Step back from work and over-stimulation (technology). Connect with yourself, your loved ones and nature. Remind yourself what is most important in life.
Make sense? Ready to switch that damn TV off and get your butt to bed? Need a hand with sleep challenges? Just hit the Reply button or get over to my Facebook page to connect up.