Practice makes perfect.
If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is practice.
Those are the things people say about getting good at all kinds of activities.
Individually these sayings have been applied to all kinds of sports, art, and games. Sleeping, on the other hand, is viewed as a means to an end.
It’s not something to get good at, not like your job, being a parent, or doing anything else you care about.
Yet it’s something we have to do every day. It’s a means to an end — but a major one with far-reaching impact. Because getting good sleep can affect so many other activities we directly care about, it’s easy to see how it can pay big dividends to develop exceptional skills in the area.
You have to go to sleep every day. You need to sleep. Why not get really good at sleeping? Why not become a Super Sleeper?
And no, not this kind of Super Sleeper…
What if you were able to increase the benefits to you and your goals on the credit side of the equation?
What if you were able to minimize the debits on the other side. What if you could lower the costs?
If you were capable of doing all those things, that would make you a Super Sleeper.
We should be performance focused. Who cares how long of a time someone spends sleeping if they’re forgetful and dull when they’re awake? Who cares how long they spend sleeping if their health suffers?
As far as sleeping, you’re going to be practicing anyway. You’re going to have to. Tomorrow, when you’re up and about, the effectiveness with which you carry on with what you have to do for the day is going to depend on how well you’ve managed to sleep.
You’ll be better off if you master certain skills. If you do, you’ll find that your sleep will be like a hard-to-sink ship riding out the raucous waves of life.
These are the skills and tools you should have in order to really master the act of sleeping.
The best way to get sleep help is to really get into the act, to try to excel.
What follows is a road map to excelling at the act of sleeping.
Only when you help yourself, can you help others.
Superman has powers like super strength, flight, heat vision and super breath. What kind of powers would a Super Sleeper have?
Super Sleeper Powers:
This could include meditation, praying, or simply dumping information onto a sheet of paper to allow yourself to mentally relax. There is nothing more effective for drug-free sleep than being able to do this consistently. You have a process for dealing with guilt and other things that occupy the mind and make it hard to sleep. The churning mind is one of the most common sleep problems. It pays to have a couple of strategies for dealing with anxiety beyond denial.
The Super Sleeper wakes up well rested 9 nights out of 10 — or even more frequently. If you think something is perfect you haven’t looked hard enough. He or she doesn’t need coffee or any other stimulant to get going. They’re alert and refreshed naturally, although they might enjoy coffee anyway. They also don’t wake up in pain from a poor sleeping posture. Pain leads to poor sleep. It has to be managed in order to get the most possible out of sleeping.
The Super Sleeper knows how to review their sleep session with themselves. Knowing how to review and improve is essential to getting good at anything. Experience can be an outstanding teacher but only if one tries to learn. The Super Sleeper is able to see what tweaks she or he needs to make in her or his sleep routine (also called sleep hygiene). It boils down to asking five questions: What did I think was going to happen? What actually happened? What went right? What could have gone better? What am I going to do next time?
Sleep is intertwined with exercise. You have an exercise routine and keep it up with little or no effort. It’s an ingrained habit. Ideally, the exercise routine should feature some exposure to sunlight which helps adjust your internal Circadian clock.
Eating Before Bedtime
The Super Sleeper has a good idea of what it is that he or she can or cannot eat successfully before going to bed. Something you ate before bed doesn’t mess up your ability to go to sleep.
The Super Sleeper understands how to keep a dream journal and can remember his or her dreams. They’re able to use a dream journal to gain insight into their life and feelings.
Having the right tools can help you do a job better. Sleep is no exception. Sleep Tools include eyeshades, earplugs, neck pillows, and beds. A Super Sleeper knows how to use a variety of Sleep Tools in order to get the job done. Their absence doesn’t make it impossible for him or her to sleep, though it might make for less sleep efficiency.
The Super Sleeper can resist other people’s pressure to abandon their wake-rest cycle when it’s not for a very good reason. They’re able to do what’s right. If they do something that they judge to be a greater priority, they can compensate. When someone starts bragging about how little they sleep or dwells on it excessively, the Super Sleeper is able to educate them as to how important it is to get enough sleep. He or she has the knowledge and ability to advocate for themselves and others.
When someone else is suffering from a sleep problem, you’re usually able to offer several practical suggestions.
Informed About Sleep
The Super Sleeper has his or her favorite sources of information about sleep and performance recovery. They stay current.
No Sleep Drugs
A pillow is a sleep tool; a pill isn’t. The Super Sleeper is able to manage their sleeping without medication. He or she manages by modifying their exposure to sunlight, their diet, and other factors like that. If he or she is a shift worker, they know how to take melatonin safely and effectively. If he or she suffers from chronic pain, they’ve got a regimen down that enables them to cope.
Makes Full Use of Sleep Time
The Super Sleeper is able to make full use of the time spent while resting. They’ve worked on various projects that involve sleeping. Maybe they’ve kept a dream journal for several months. Maybe they’ve tried to become more intuitive or psychic. Maybe they’ve attempted to learn a foreign language or master other subjects while sleeping.
Nap vs. Exercise Knowledge
When he or she needs to, the Super Sleeper knows how or when to take a nap or take a walk. The Super Sleeper is able to incorporate napping into a routine and not have it become difficult to sleep at night. Sometimes, instead of a nap, it’s more restful or invigorating to go on a short walk or get some other kind of physical activity.
When a situation happens that overwhelms the Super Sleeper, he or she is able to cope. If the air conditioner goes out, they’ve got a plan. If the couple next door starts fighting noisily, he or she knows what to do. If his or her child or spouse spends a night throwing up and ruins the night, the Super Sleeper can bounce back.
Are there any other skills that you think are necessary to becoming a Super Sleeper?
For further reading:
A quick guide to finding and listening to sleep music
Prayer and meditation for sleep aren’t the same thing
Follow these 5 principles to get the best sleep possible anywhere, anytime
Should your dog sleep with you in bed?
How to use lavender for a better sleep
James Cobb, RN, MSN, is an emergency department nurse and the founder of the Dream Recovery System. His goal is to provide his readers with simple, actionable ways to improve their health and maximize their quality of life.
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