Tag Archives: rest

I could do this all night long…

I could do this all night long...

How much sleep do you get every night? As a geek, I find that there are many days I don’t rest nearly enough. We’re always busy, right? There aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything we have on our proverbial plates.

Getting enough rest is critical, though. When our bodies don’t recharge, our brains can become sluggish and unresponsive. Pushing yourself by staying up an extra couple of hours will actually end up hurting you. You will be too tired to do the things you have to do, and you’ll fall further behind than if you had just gone to bed on time.

Sleep is definitely a good thing.

Is Your iPad Keeping You Awake?

J.D. Moyer is a sleep-deprived native of California. He had read somewhere that strong light – including that coming from an electronic device screen – can reset your internal sleep clock. He decided to conduct an experiment based on that information, and was surprised at the results. For an entire month, he turned off every light in his home at sunset… even his laptop and the bulb inside of his fridge. Instead of falling asleep close to midnight every night, he started crashing out before 9 PM. He felt extremely well-rested during the day and had a lot more energy.

Consumer electronics are being used right up until bedtime these days… and even while we’re already tucked IN bed. I know many people who take their iPads to bed with them. They may be reading a book or catching up on their favorite television shows. However, this could be interfering with their ability to fall asleep and become fully rested and recharged.

“Potentially, yes, if you’re using [the iPad or a laptop] close to bedtime … that light can be sufficiently stimulating to the brain to make it more awake and delay your ability to sleep,” said Phyllis Zee, a neuroscience professor at Northwestern University and director of the school’s Center for Sleep & Circadian Biology. “And I think more importantly, it could also be sufficient to affect your circadian rhythm. This is the clock in your brain that determines when you sleep and when you wake up.”

Light from a laptop, iPad or other device is usually held close to the body and the light is shining directly into your eyes. This doesn’t happen as much with the soft glow from a reading lamp or a television broadcasting from the other side of your room. You would likely fall asleep much easier if you were to curl up with an actual book than you do when you download something to do on your iPad.

When receptors in our eyes are hit with bright light for an extended period of time, they send a message to the brain saying it’s time to be awake. The brain, in turn, stops secreting a hormone called melatonin, which makes people sleepy and helps regulate the internal sleep clock. Normally, our brains start giving us that hormonal sleep aid at about 9 or 10 p.m. But if bright lights are shining in our eyes, that may not happen as planned.

You may think that six or seven hours of sleep is sufficient. After all, we have a lot to get done. There aren’t enough hours in a day to do everything as it is. However, research proves that if you are well-rested (think 8-9 hours of sleep), you’ll have more energy and be more productive. This can translate into getting more accomplished in a fewer number of hours. I don’t know about you, but if I’m tired and draggy I spend a lot of my “working” time staring into space or messing around on time-wasting tasks. When I feel awake and energized, I focus on what needs to be done and crank out the tasks.

How do you fall asleep? Do you take a laptop, iPad or other device to bed with you? Are you on the computer right up until it’s time to roll into the sack? Most importantly – do you feel rested in the mornings?

How to Track Your Sleep Habits

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I’ve pulled all-nighters, that’s for sure. If I stay up too long though, everyone starts looking funny. I try to sleep at least eight hours a night. If you’re not getting enough sleep, then shame on you! Your body and mind need rest in order to function properly, and stay healthy! How many hours do you sleep on average? Do you even know of a good way to keep track?

YawnLog is a free website that will help you keep a log of your sleeping habits. YawnLog is a sleep tracker. Sign up, and then tell the site each day when you went to sleep and when you woke up. Add some notes about your sleeptime, as well, if you want. Did you sleep peacefully? Were you tossing and turning? Did you have strange dreams?

You can share these notes with others if you wish, and even compare your sleeping habits with others. YawnLog keeps track of everything for you, and you can use the information how you wish. If you don’t want to share your information, don’t worry – you can keep it totally private. YawnLog will never share your information with the World, unless you want them to.

YawnLog’s slogan is pretty snappy, and says a lot about what’s behind the idea for the site:

YawnLog is about you and your naptime, and we’re happy to tuck you in.

It was born from a “Hackathon” several months ago, when a large group of people stayed up all night brainstorming and hacking together ideas. Everyone knows that it’s important to rest enough, but not everyone does so. YawnLog can help you get your sleep habits back on track.

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Sleep Tips

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Tom from England writes: “A lot of people at school in the morning arrive with their eyes half closed and are complaining of how miserable they are, so I made this top 5 list (not just for teenagers) about how to get the most out of sleep.”

  • Stick to a schedule Make sure you go to bed and wake up at more or less the same time every day, even on weekends. This will prevent interference with your ‘biological clock’, and your body will thrive on its new sleeping routine. I may also note that you will rely less and less on alarm clocks.
  • Sleep in darkness It may seem like common sense, but letting even a small amount of light into your room will severely disrupt you when you try to get to sleep. It is also good to know that when waking up in the morning, you should do so with bright lights… especially if you find it hard getting out of bed.
  • Watch what you eat and drink Going to bed on a full stomach (or an empty one) is not good. If you are having a meal, wait at least 3 hours before you go to bed. This is because your body cannot digest food well when you are asleep. It’s also the same with tea or coffee, Coca Cola etc. Caffeine takes at least 8 hours to get out of your system and can keep you awake in bed.
  • Sleep cool There is nothing worse than a hot bed. Open a window or use thinner sheets. You may feel you are lying in bed forever before you can get to sleep when your bed is like an oven.
  • Get as much sleep as possible. Sleeping for short amounts of time, such as around 6 hours, can lead to stress. A good amount is around 8 hours.


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