People are busier today than ever before. We live in a world where many things occupy our time. Between work, family, and other responsibilities, it is common to wish for more hours in the day. Often, we sacrifice the time we should be sleeping to accomplish more tasks.
We were all taught that getting 8 hours of sleep every night is necessary for our bodies to recharge and to feel our best. However, sometimes sleeping for a full third of the day is not feasible for our schedule. You might wonder if there is a way to get your body to rest more in the time you have. Here’s how to sleep 8 hours in 4 hours.
Why Do We Need To Sleep?
You are not a time traveler, so there is no way for you to cram 8 hours of sleep into half of that time. However, the quality of sleep you get in the amount of time you have available can improve. Getting more restful sleep can improve how you feel, your concentration, your motor skills, and many other aspects of your health.
When we sleep, our body has different stages. The first stage is called non-REM sleep and is key in the body’s ability to repair itself physically. The muscle tissues are restored, and the immune system is strengthened. During non-REM sleep, we are unconscious but in a deep rest because our bodies are still active.
The next phase is called REM sleep which stands for Rapid Eye Movement. This is the time of night when your brain is asleep and rejuvenating itself. REM sleep is crucial for brain functions and memory retention. Not getting enough REM sleep causes you to forget things and have trouble focusing.
How To Get Better Quality Sleep
It is best if you can get 8 hours of sleep every night. However, plenty of people sleep 8-10 hours a day but do not get enough quality REM sleep to recharge their bodies and minds. The key to feeling more rested when you have less time to dedicate to sleep is to get your body into a REM state faster to have time to rejuvenate.
Learn how to improve sleep quality and optimize your stage of sleep to achieve better quality of your sleep, including deep sleep, in just 4 hours.
Is Four Hours of Sleep Enough
Getting no more than 4 hours of sleep a night is not ideal. A lack of sleep will wear on your body and mind over time, affecting your mood and your overall health. Strive to get more sleep, but on the nights when 4 hours is all you have, make them count.
Getting a better quality of rest when you only have a few hours is achievable. Changing your nighttime routine to prepare yourself for sleep can get your brain to shut down faster when it is time to get some shuteye.
1. Avoid Blue Light
We spend hours in front of our computers or looking at our smartphones every day. Electronic devices emit blue light and white light that has been shown to make it difficult to fall asleep. Spending some time away from our electronic devices before we lay down helps our eyes rest, and falling asleep is easier.
Getting away from blue light is not as easy as it sounds. Many of us spend much of the evening on social media, and not responding to last-minute emails is impossible for some people. Changing the setting on your screen to filter blue light or get some glasses that block it, can help you reduce the strain on your eyes.
2. Try To Relax
It may sound like a simple fix, but you don’t realize how many of the things you do at night are not relaxing. If you come home from work and spend a few hours doing laundry, cooking dinner, and helping your kids do their homework, then you haven’t taken time to unwind. Give yourself an hour at the end of the night to do something that can get you relaxed and prepare for bed.
- Take a hot bath to help ease your muscles and increase your blood flow. Lighting some scented candles and listening to soft music can also help you relax and get a better quality of sleep.
- Journaling can help to organize your thoughts if you are the kind of person whose mind is racing when you close your eyes. With so many thoughts bouncing around in your head, taking a few minutes to write some of them down may quiet them.
- Reading a book is a classic example of a bedtime activity. Reading can help you unwind and is better for your eyes than watching videos on your TV or phone. However, if you are going to read, be sure to pick up a real book or magazine. Reading on a smartphone or tablet will expose you to more blue light, which is not good.
3. Don’t Overdo It at Dinner
Many of us skip breakfast, and it is not uncommon to eat unhealthy food at lunch as well. Some people only have a balanced meal at dinnertime and can get carried away. If you overeat or eat something that may upset your stomach or give you heartburn later, you will have difficulty falling asleep.
Dinner should not be the biggest meal you eat every day. You should try to have a smaller dinner to avoid going to bed on a full stomach. And if you eat something spicy or rich that might make you sick, you are not allowing your body to rest.
Also lay off the drinks after dinner. Whether you like to unwind with a glass of wine or drink a tall glass of water at night, too much liquid after dinner is going to be counterintuitive to getting a good night’s sleep. Waking up every couple of hours with the urge to go to the bathroom is not very restful.
Many people find that meditating or practicing yoga can help to clear the mind and prepare the body for sleep. Yoga stretches can loosen your muscles and help relax you. Taking deep breaths can increase blood flow throughout the body. Meditation clears your mind from the thoughts that have piled on you throughout the day and gives you a clean slate for a night of rest.
5. Prepare Your Sleep Environment
One of the most important things you can do if you need to get 8 hours of sleep in 4 hours is to be sure the room you’re sleeping in is restful. If your body is not comfortable, it will be nearly impossible for you to fall asleep and stay that way all night. There are several things you can do to create a relaxing environment.
Masking the outside world from your senses can help you stay asleep during the hours you have. One of the best ways to stay in a REM state longer is to keep any light and noise from waking you up too early. Here are some ways to do that.
- Blackout curtains can help keep the room as dark as possible. These are especially good for people who work at night and have to get their sleep during the day.
- Make sure your room is at the right temperature. Having it too hot or cold will not let you sleep without interruption. Be sure the air or heat is set at a comfortable level, and place a fan near your bed if needed.
- A sound machine can help to drown out noises from outside the room that night and interrupt your sleep cycle. Sound machines can be set to different sounds or rhythms. You can also download apps on your phone that can do the same thing.
6. Get a Sleep Study
If you are consistently having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep through the night, there could be a health reason causing it. Many disorders, such as a deviated septum or sleep apnea, can cause breathing problems that affect your sleep. See a doctor and ask about getting a sleep study to find out what is causing you to have trouble. Often, a medical procedure or a CPAP can help regulate your sleep so that you feel more rested.
7. See a Doctor
Other medical reasons can affect your sleep that your doctor can help with. If you have undiagnosed depression or anxiety, you can get more rest with therapy or medication. Disorders like restless leg syndrome can keep your body from resting enough to get proper sleep. Things like this may be helped through physical therapy and medication.
Getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep is the ideal way to recharge your body and allow your brain to rest. However, sometimes we don’t have that much time to dedicate to sleep. While it may seem that sleeping 8 hours in 4 hours is a meme, there can be some validity to it. You cannot compress time, but you can make the hours you have more meaningful by getting the best quality of rest you can in the amount of time you have.