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PodcastOptimize Your Sleep

Optimize Your Sleep

Cognitive neuroscientist Lucas Miller is guest-hosting Radio Headspace all week. Today, he'll offer some proven tips for getting more, better quality sleep, and even how to fall asleep faster.

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Better mental health starts with Headspace. Unrivaled expertise to make life feel a little easier, using guided meditations, mindfulness tips, focus tools, sleep support, and dedicated programs.

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Better mental health starts with Headspace

(air whooshing) (gentle music) Headspace Studios. (gentle music) Hi there, it's Lucas Miller here, your guest host for the week. Welcome to Radio Headspace and to Tuesday. This week is all about using neuroscience to optimize your energy so you can perform better at work and get more out of life. We've all heard this saying, "I'll sleep when I'm dead," but the reality is that sleep is a huge part of our lives. In fact, we actually spend 1/3 of our lives asleep, and it's the foundation of both our health and our performance. And without sleep, you simply won't have the energy to do your best work. Today is dedicated to strategies to help you get more sleep and better quality sleep. And if you have trouble falling asleep, I'll also share some tips to help you get to bed faster. (birds chirping) When we don't get enough sleep, consistently we're getting less than seven hours, that's how I define not enough sleep. There are so many different performance related factors that dip when we don't get enough sleep. We are more tired, more distractable. We're also more emotional. We are more overconfident in ourselves, even when our answers are wrong, which can be very dangerous. We're more likely to get sick. The common cold, COVID, all of it. We are also, in all sorts of blind studies, deemed less trustworthy. Some of the culprits that lead to poor sleep are the following. The first is having caffeine too late. A lot of people routinely have a cup of coffee, 5, 6, 7:00 pm to get through the evening. Caffeine has a half-life of over eight hours, which means that if you have caffeine at 4 or 5:00 pm and you're trying to go to bed at 10 or 11:00 pm, that caffeine is still super active. My general rule of thumb, especially for people who have issues falling asleep or they don't feel like their sleep is as high quality as it should be, is to limit caffeine to at least eight hours before going to bed. So if you go to sleep at 11:00 pm, that means cut yourself off at 3:00 pm. (gentle music) I know there's this piece of advice out there that we should all be getting eight hours of sleep. That's actually somewhat of a myth, because if you set your alarm for eight hours after you go to sleep, you're likely to wake up in the middle of a sleep cycle, in a stage of sleep that is relatively deep. And so if you jolt yourself out of that, you're really groggy and you want to go back to sleep. Sleep cycles, on average, run about 90 minutes in length, so 1.5 hours. If you add that up, five sleep cycles is seven and 1/2 hours, and six sleep cycles is nine hours. If I set my alarm for seven and 1/2 hours after I go to sleep, I wake up...


Duration5 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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  • Eve is a mindfulness teacher, overseeing Headspace’s meditation curriculum. She is passionate about sharing meditation to help others feel less stressed and experience more compassion in their lives.

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  • As a meditation teacher, Dora encourages others to live, breathe, and be with the fullness of their experiences. She loves meditation’s power to create community and bring clarity to people’s minds.

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  • Kessonga has been an acupuncturists, therapist, and meditation teacher, working to bring mindfulness to the diverse populations of the world.

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  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s mission is to help others overcome adversity and experience radical love.

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