As difficult as getting a good night’s sleep is for most people, those of us who have bipolar disorder know all too well the significant health costs of poor sleep. So, leading sleep researcher James B. Maas, PhD, shares his golden rules for getting a good night’s rest.
#1 Know What You Need
Determine your need for sleep and meet it nightly. For most adults, this is seven to eight hours. A rare few need less than that, and a significant number need nine to ten hours. (If you use an alarm clock to rise, can’t get up easily, and feel tired during the day, you’re getting too little sleep.)
#2 Keep Your Sleep Schedule Consistent
Establish a regular sleep/wake schedule. Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time in the morning—seven days a week.
#3 Do Not Disturb
Get continuous, uninterrupted sleep whenever possible. Sleep is most rejuvenating when it’s in one long block. This can involve setting up your environment to limit nighttime distractions.
#4 Make Up for Lost Sleep
When you do lose sleep, make up for it as soon as possible, either by going to bed early for a few nights, or by napping judiciously. (Keep naps short, no longer than 30 minutes. Otherwise, you run the risk of impairing your nighttime sleep.)
Dr. James B. Maas, PhD is a leading international authority on sleep. He has been the Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow, Professor and past Chairman of Psychology, as well as a professor in the graduate fields of Education and Communication at Cornell University. He holds the world’s record for university teaching, having taught more than 65,000 students in his 48 years on the Cornell faculty. Dr. Maas coined the term “Power Nap” and is regularly featured on such programs as The Today Show, The View, 20/20, and Oprah.
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