Some forms of hygiene failure are more obvious than others—consult your nearest frat house if you need a refresher. But a less obvious hygiene fail can be even more insidious: sleep.
Why? Not getting enough sleep will make you fat, stupid, and dead. And you don't want your colleagues—or anyone else you interact with—to be a habitually insufficient sleeper, since studies show that tired people are more likely to cheat you. And getting up in the morning tends to feel terrible.
So how do we get better at sleeping well? By not somnambulating through our sleep hygiene, naturally.
1) Get regular sleep.
Sleep clinician Michael Thorpy says that the most crucial thing is to go to bed and get up at the same times every day. This sounds healthy. (It also sounds boring.)
2) Get device free.
Truman Capote couldn't get any thinking done unless he was lying down—usually with a coffee, tea, or sherry in hand, depending on the day. He is not a role model.
Bed should be associated with sleep, Thorphy says, not work. Rather, the bedroom, bloggers such as Leo Babatua of Zen Habits have long told us, should be a sanctuary. Let bed be the last stronghold of analog resistance.
3) Stop putting so much stuff inside of you.
Unsurprisingly, stimulants disturb sleep.
4) Don't drink.
Surprisingly, alcohol disturbs sleep. While it might make you crash quickly, Thorpy says, alcohol will mess up the second half of your sleep time since your body has to process all that delightful poison you put inside yourself.
5) Go hard by day, sleep hard by night.
Going high on the physical activity during the day lets you sleep deeply at night.
6) Stretch before bed.
A bit of relaxation yoga can prep you for quality sleep, Thorpy says. It also helps your brain.
7) Get enough natural light.
Or your body won't know whether it's day or night. And you might lose your will to live.
9) Get enough warmth.
Being too cold is a distraction for your body while you're awake, since your body has to produce heat rather than do whatever you're trying to do. In other words: It's time for a Snuggie.
Hat tip: National Sleep Foundation
[Image: Flickr user Bill Selak]