Do you want the benefits of 8 hours’ sleep every night?

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Most of us don’t have the luxury of sleeping for 8 hours a night. But here’s how you can maximise the hours you have.

Do you find yourself fantasising about getting 8 hours of sleep a night – but only manage about 5 hours? It’s often difficult to get good quality sleep in limited time, but here’s some help if you sleep less than 8 hours a night…

* Find the best sleeping position.

Tossing and turning in bed? It’s not just about the comfort (or discomfort) of your mattress or the wrong room temperature. Every person has a sleeping position that hits the sweet spot in terms of comfort and spinal alignment. Your best sleeping position could be on your side or flat on your back with your legs folded at the knees. The advantage of having a sleeping position that works for you, is that you will drift off to sleep at once. It also extends your deep sleep cycle, when your body is at complete rest.

* Keep pain relief spray handy.

Your body heals itself while you sleep. But lack of sleep can have the opposite effect – aches and pains mysteriously appear, injuries heal much slower, and you feel fatigued all the time. If your body is tense and painful, use a pain relief spray on the painful muscles and joints to stave off the aches and have a more comfortable working day. Pain relief spray also helps when you’re battling body ache but also have pressing deadlines competing for your attention.

* Stay away from caffeine after 7 pm.

Caffeine edges out sleep, which is why you prefer to tank up on coffee during office hours. Coffee offers an instant pick-me-up that keeps you awake as you wade through your To-Do list. But this same property – and caffeine is present in tea and green tea as well – can keep you awake far longer than you prefer, during the night hours. Avoid having caffeinated beverages after 7 pm, accounting for a sleep time of about 11 pm. Caffeine must be avoided about four to five hours before you sleep, so that your brain can slow down and begin the process of unwinding for a good night’s rest.

* Don’t over stimulate the body and mind.

The reason you often don’t fall asleep within minutes of hitting the bed, is that your brain is too amped up to relax and let you sleep. This happens if you’re looking at your mobile phone in bed, or working on your laptop late into the night, or even watching late night TV. The white light from these devices ‘teases’ the brain into thinking that it is still daylight. Thus, sleep eludes you for a long time. Detach from all digital devices an hour before you sleep, and practice deep breathing to allow more oxygen into the system. You can also try meditating to calm down the brain and induce better sleep.