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Zzzzz...5 Ways to Get a Good Night's Sleep

Sleep Deficit: The Performance Killer reports that sleep deprivation is associated with slower reaction times, impairment of short-term and long-term memory, inability to focus, and decline in cognitive speed.  As you can see, a lack of sleep can have a detrimental impact on your career performance, so we thought we'd offer you some pointers to help you sleep better:

  1. Set a Sleep Schedule.  Rather than going to bed whenever you feel like it, create a sleep schedule and stick to it, even on the weekends.  Consistency will help to reinforce your body's sleep-wake cycle, reports the Mayo Clinic.

  2. Adopt a Restful State of Mind.  Avoid engaging in activity you find stimulating just before bedtime.  Instead, you might try dimming the lights, reading a book, or taking a bath before turning in for the night.  The more restful your mind is before you lay down to sleep, the more likely you'll drift off quickly.

  3. Exercise but Not Before Bedtime.  Exercising within 4 hours of bedtime will make it more difficult for you to fall asleep.  However, working out earlier in the day —particularly if you do cardio—will improve the length and quality of your sleep, reports Prevention.

  4. Create the Right Environment.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, the ideal temperature to sleep in is between 60 and 67 degrees.  Once you've adjusted the temperature, take care of other factors likely to create sleep disturbances, like light and sound.  To block out light, pull your shades down or wear a sleep mask. If sound is an issue, consider ear plugs or a “white noise” machine.

  5. Distract Yourself.  If you suffer from insomnia, don't lay in bed for hours tossing and turning.  Instead, get out of bed and do something else, rather than continuing to try to fall asleep.  For instance, you could read a book or have a small snack.  After 15-20 minutes, return to bed and try to fall asleep again.  While this may sound counterintuitive, individuals who try it report great results.