Life & Beauty Weekly: Health

By Anne L. Fritz for Life & Beauty Weekly


These days, more and more people are sleeping less and less. Most adults need seven or eight hours, says Phyllis Zee, M.D., director of the Sleep Disorders Centre at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, USA. Not hitting the magic number? Here are some innovative ways to squeeze in an extra 30 to 60 minutes of sleep each day.

1. Ban the snooze button
Even if it doesn’t feel like it, you’re actually more awake the first time your eyes open than after a string of ten snooze naps. “Continuing to fall back asleep after each alarm buzz makes you feel groggier in the end,” says Dr. Zee. Get up on the first buzz and save those snooze minutes for an early-afternoon nap.

2. Become a champion multitasker
Count the extra minutes you save with these ideas throughout the day and go to bed that much earlier.

  • Email anywhere Don’t have a BlackBerry or iPhone? Think about getting one. You may cluck at those people constantly glued to their mini-screens, but the occasional check-in while in a queue at the store lets you stay on top of your inbox and Facebook account.
  • Have a working lunch Instead of going out with co-workers, pack a lunch once or twice a week and pay bills or tackle your online to-do list during the noon hour.
  • Plot a course Think about all your errands and ask yourself if there’s an easier way. Can you use the grocery store’s pharmacy instead of the one a few kilometres away? Is your current dry cleaner really better than the one next to your office? Make all your stops as convenient as possible.

3. Limit caffeine after 4 p.m.
Think twice before going for a coffee or soft drink in the afternoon. Depending on how much caffeine you get, it could take 24 hours for it to flush out of your system.

4. Nap the right way
Four to 7 p.m. is the nap danger zone — when you feel most sleepy but also when you should avoid dozing off. Why? Snoozing in the late afternoon or early evening can keep you awake later at night, says Dr. Zee. If you can, nap only between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. for only 15 minutes at a time, she suggests.

5. Make the most of your evenings
Try to prepare for the next day’s activities on the night before. You’ll be able to sleep in longer and rest easier knowing things are ready to go.

  • Prep while you cook Make tomorrow’s lunches while waiting for the pasta to boil or while cleaning up leftovers.
  • Ditch the blow-dryer Shower and shampoo hair at night and let it dry while you sleep. Better yet, only wash it every few days. A bit of dry shampoo soaks up oil and revives your style.
  • Set it and forget it Pick out everything you need for tomorrow’s outfit the night before, including shoes and accessories, and double-check that all your essentials—wallet, keys, letters to post—are in your handbag.

6. Establish a bedtime


Work backward seven or eight hours from the time you need to wake up to figure out when you should hit the hay to get a full night’s sleep. About an hour or two before that, take a warm shower or bath, then put on socks to keep your feet warm. Warming up and keeping your feet toasty allows your core body temperature to fall slightly, helping you relax and fall asleep more easily, says Dr. Zee. The scheduled downtime also prevents you from losing track of time while reading, watching

Anne L. Fritz
is the former style director for
Life & Style and has been on staff at
Woman’s Day and
Working Mother. She has contributed to
Marie Claire, Glamour, Prevention and many websites, including
Everyday Health, About and Life & Beauty Weekly
. Fritz is also the founder of The Jet Set Girls
, a website about girls’ getaways. 

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