Best Selling Author

Television Producer and Executive

Adjunct Professor at the NY Stern School of Business

Getting Sleep Down to a Science

June 11, 2013

Like hunger, you know when you haven’t had enough sleep. We usually don’t get enough sleep on weekdays: a combination of working longer and workplace anxiety.
The only way you are going to get more sleep is to sleep later or go to bed earlier. Now sleeping later is prob¬ably not an option, so if you decide that you are going to sleep earlier, here’s how to make it work.

What are you doing before you go to sleep? You need to pick a time you want to be asleep, then start heading there at least an hour before.

Get a good cue. What’s going to remind you that the wind-down hour has started? Find something that is the reverse of your morning routine. For example, you have to be out of the shower by 10:30.

Turn everything down, lights, noise and even yourself. Start to move more slowly. If you act sleepy, you’ll become sleepy.

Distraction. Use whatever works best for you to detach completely from the day’s events. The goal is to break free of the records re-playing in your head.

Try to avoid television shows that are fast paced. The cutting and scene changes will increase your adrena¬line and wake you up. If you do watch TV, opt for something story based or lulling, like a nature documentary.

If tomorrow seems like an impossible day, write down what you have to do and then leave it. This is one of the most repeated pieces of advice because it works. When you write down your thoughts, you engage more than one portion of your brain in the matter and have a decidedly better feeling of control over events.

There are lots of hypnotic and sleep inducing sounds you can download or buy on CD. They help slow down your brainwaves.

Remember, you’ve had a bad night’s sleep in the past and the world didn’t end. The hardest thing to do is keep yourself from thinking about not sleeping. You do that by thinking of something else—and that’s not easy, but like any exercise, the more you do it, the better you will become.