The bear, well known for salmon hunting, the pestering of bees, but above all, its absolute mastery over the gods of sleep. Once the bear has truly made up its mind to sleep, there is nothing you can do to stop it. Hunger, noise, cold, disrespectful treatment from co-workers; none of these things can trouble the bear once hibernation has set it. Although it may require much practice to screw up your mastery over Slumber to a bear like proportion, these 5 tips might help you get a start on getting in touch with your inner bear.
1) Ride the waves of your sleeping patterns.
The average sleep cycle, which involves going in and out of REM sleep, lasts about 90 minutes. If you wake up during the middle of one of these cycles, you will probably feel less well rested than if you wake up at the end of one of them - even if this spells less sleep overall. For example, say you went to bad at 11:00 PM, and set your alarm for 7:30. This means that you would wake up in the middle of one of these 90 minutes sleep cycles. On the other hand, if you were to set your alarm for 6:30, this would be a total of 7 and a half hours of sleep (or 5 complete 90 minute sleep cycles). This makes 7 and a half hours of sleep ideal for riding the waves of your sleep cycles, and could leave you feeling better rested than if you slept that extra hour.
2) Try to wake up on your own.
We all know that waking up badly can lead to a vicious cycle of bad days, and even more bad sleeps. But what if it's too hard to organize, with an alarm, exactly 7 and a half hours from the moment you fall asleep? Try giving yourself some extra time: go to bed early, and give yourself some time to wake up on your own before your alarm goes off. There's nothing more refreshing than the feeling of waking up naturally, all on your own. Just don't be tempted to roll over and wait for the alarm: force yourself out of bed, and try to hang out on to that refreshed feeling for as long as possible.
3) Exercise before bed.
Tired of dragging yourself out of bed to pound some pavement for 30 minutes to an hour before work in the morning? Instead, try fitting your cardio -or whatever other exercise you're used to doing - an hour or two before bed instead. Tiring yourself out before calling it a night is a great way to sleep more soundly, and maybe the only thing more satisfying than waking up naturally is drifting off to sleep with that overall feeling of well being you get after a good workout. In general, exercise -if you aren't already doing it regularly- is one of the best things to contribute to a good night's sleep.
4) Read a book.
Instead of spending your evening in front of a the T.V. or a computer screen, read a book. The visual stimulation of the two former types of entertainment can keep you agitated, or more wakeful beyond the time you normally would be, and sometimes theses images can even get stuck in your head, continuing to agitate you even once you have gone to bed. A book, on the other hand, especially if it's right before bed, and even more especially if it's one that requires you to think, is much more conducive to nodding off at a reasonable hour.
5) Get up early.
Work hard. Obviously, if you sleep in, and/or loaf around all day, you are going to have a hard time getting to sleep. This applies to weekends as much as to weekdays, so if you have two modes of operating - say, industrious during the week and lazy on the weekend - this could screw up your sleeping habits, making it difficult for you to get to sleep all week long. Getting up early, and staying active and busy all day long - and every day during the whole week- is also one of the best ways to get satisfying, because well needed, sleep. After all, rest is only satisfying if it follows hard work.
All this being said, in your pursuit of the art of imperturbable bear sleep, you may or may not want to fish for salmon with your bare hands, or dive hands and face straight into a beehive with a total lack of care for bee stings. Still, if by using some of the tips above, you can get yourself into a more regular and more natural cycle of waking and sleeping, you may find yourself a little more like the bear; in other words, less likely to be disturbed during relegated sleeping hours by anything whatsoever external to the sacred art of sleep.
If you feel like you need more energy in the middle of the day, a good nap will do the trick. Check out these 10 Effective Napping Techniques.