START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good

How to Recover From a Sleep Deficit

  • August 8, 2011
  • 5:01 pm

3. Exercise.

Engage in vigorous exercise most days of the week for at least 30 minutes. ďVigorousĒ means that most of the time, youíre too out of breath to speak more than a few words. If exercising in the evening makes it hard for you to get to sleep, do your workout in the morning or afternoon.

Beware this side effect of not enough sleep.

4. Create a restful bedroom.

Make sure your bedroom environment is conducive to sleep. It should be dark, quiet, cool, and uncluttered. We spend so much time in our bedrooms that we tend to overlook the simple changes that could help us get more sleep, such as hanging thicker curtains to block out light, or moving the bed away from a noisy window.

5. Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex.

The moment you get into bed, you want to have a feeling of rest and relaxation that invites sleep. But if you engage in brain-stimulating activities in the bedroom, such as watching TV, sending e-mails, or talking on the phone, you become conditioned to associate your bed with energy and alertness, and that interferes with sleep.

6. Learn how to relax your body and quiet your mind.

Simple relaxation techniques like slow abdominal breathing, progressive relaxation, or guided imagery allow your body to release tension and your mind to settle down so you can ease into sleep. If itís worry and anxiety that keep your mind from settling down, keep a notebook by your bed and jot down your concerns (and any possible solutions) before you turn out the light. The act of recording your worries so you can tackle them later helps you feel more in control.

7. Donít worry about falling sleep!

While this might sound like the ultimate catch-22 for someone struggling to sleep, this may be the most overlooked tactic of all. The truth is, you can lessen the struggle by changing the way you think about sleep. Instead of thinking, Iíll never get to sleep. Iíll be a wreck tomorrow, say to yourself, Eventually, Iíll get to sleep. Even if I donít get a full nightís sleep, Iíll be able to function tomorrow. I always do. Try turning your alarm clock to the side so you wonít be constantly confronted with how late it is.

Jeff Rossman, PhD, is a advisor, and director of life management at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, MA. His column, Mind-Body-Mood Booster, appears most weeks on

Read more: Bed & Bath, Family, General Health, Health, Mental Wellness, , , , , , , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Rodale is a new original source for daily news, information, and advice on personal and environmental health. focuses on ďWhere Health Meets GreenĒ topics, providing daily news stories and breaking news along with easy-to-follow, high-impact tips and advice.


+ add your own
1:18AM PDT on Oct 12, 2011

good advise.

7:04PM PDT on Sep 25, 2011

I you try to concentrate on two things at once and breath deeply enough to expand your rib cage from the bottom very slowly it's amazing how your mind goes to sleep.

4:20PM PDT on Aug 25, 2011

These are great tips as long as everyone you live with keeps the noise down so you can actually sleep. I'm not so lucky.

9:23PM PDT on Aug 23, 2011


3:43AM PDT on Aug 23, 2011

This is all very well, but as other people already mentioned, sometimes there are less than 8 hours between the end of one day and the beginning of the next, so, even if you fall asleep immediately and wake up only when the alarm sounds (for the third time... ;-)) you will never get enough sleep... But ok, I admit the article could not contain any time magic to solve this problem. Any suggestions, anyway?

12:17AM PDT on Aug 23, 2011

i am the other way round i need more sleep

6:45PM PDT on Aug 22, 2011

Im a insominac froma child not a gud sleeper. Now wiv lifs stresses im worse.

5:29AM PDT on Aug 21, 2011

I fall asleep as soon as I have eaten can be a sandwich ,can be midday, affecting my sleep at night .Apparently apnea can cause heart problems rather than be a cause .I had sudden cardiac arrest 6 years ago. As a teenager had the opposite slept so deeply people thought committed suicide.Suspect that was due to hormonal imbalance . I have noticed this happens to more than me most teenagers sleep late & most over 50's wake early ??!!

2:09AM PDT on Aug 21, 2011

Useful information.

8:34PM PDT on Aug 20, 2011

I don't know about not eating for 3 hours before bed. You can't fall asleep if you are hungry.

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Thanks, would be nice to actually see global action.

This is a very interesting and useful article.Thanks for sharing.

thank you for sharing

these are great! thx :)

How about Quick Pickled Apples? Easy sweet pickle like chutney, and great on a grilled cheese sandwi…


Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

site feedback


Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!