There are two things that the IT people lack: time and sleep. The big problem about them is that the more time you spend working, the less time you spend sleeping, and vice versa.
When faced with such dilemma most tech people give work the clear priority. There are not so many programmers, web-designers, or system administrators around who sleep more than five hours a day. Not that healthy, eh? Seems like tech specialists are doomed to suffer from constant lack of sleep.
Not quite so, actually. Many people do cope with sleeping less by improving the quality of their sleep. Here's the crème de la crème of the sleep tips we have gathered from all around the Web and our personal experience.
1. Consistent Wake-Up Time
The number one thing in getting used to a daily routine is that this routine should really be daily. In other words, think of a regular wake-up time that would be the same for all days of the week, including weekend. If Monday to Friday you get up at 7 a.m., do the same on Saturday and Sunday too (and no whining!). Installing a nice alarm clock program on your machine would be a good idea.
2. Attention to Sleep Stages
Basically, there are two major sleep stages: deep sleep and rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep (more about it on Wikipedia). It is during the REM stage that you are having dreams, and the deep sleep stage is when your brain has rest and recovers from the daily activities. Therefore, when you wake up while in the deep sleep stage, you're going to feel tired and sleepy for the rest of the day. That's why minding the sleep stage during which you get up is one of the key factors in the sleep hygiene.
You can try figuring out the time when you're in the middle of the deep sleep stage by setting up your alarm clock about twenty minutes earlier or later than your usually wake up. On the other hand, being a technologically savvy person, you can try some software that takes your sleep cycles into account - for example, Sleep Cycle.
3. Work-out Routine
Working out in the morning is a prerequisite of staying cheerful the whole day long. It helps you increase your body temperature (which falls during your sleep), thus making your heart and brain work in the 'day-time' mode. That's why you shouldn't limit your morning physical exercise to a couple of squats or push-ups. Take your time and exercise for at least 20 minutes, so you sweat a bit (don't forget to take a shower afterwards!). If you can spare twenty minutes or so after, or even during, the working hours, do some jogging or some other exercises. In order to track your workout routine and satisfy the tech streak in you, you may want to try some fitness software - like Ascendo Fitness.
4. Healthy Habits
If you are a smoker, giving up would be a nice idea (again, let software help you). However, it is not the only bad habit that can ruin your sleep. The best way to avoid it is to give up consuming caffeine and alcoholic drinks as well. Having a tequila shot or a cup of cappuccino occasionally is O.K., but certainly not on a regular basis. By the way, some sorts of tea contain even more caffeine than coffee itself, so drinking herbal tea instead of the regular one could be a nice idea as a coffee substitute.
5. Daytime Naps
Daytime naps can totally ruin your established night sleep pattern. That's why you should try to avoid taking naps, unless you feel absolutely like burying your nose in your keypad. In this case, a short nap would be alright. Nevertheless, it should not be longer than 20 minutes, so make sure you've got a mighty alarm clock; and don't snooze back to your sleep after it buzzed.
So, it's time for trying out the brainy pieces of advice about sleep hygiene we've just given you. Share your experience in the comments section below!
The Picture Credit: miellet