"Sleep" is one of the major buzzwords at The Huffington Post's Oasis, as it's a vital aspect of unplugging and recharging and performing one's best. When running on fewer than seven hours, as Harvard Medical School's Stuart Quan tells us, a nap could be extremely beneficial.
But where to catch these Zzs in the midst of, say, the RNC? HuffPost's executive health editor Alana B. Elias Kornfeld and Off The Mat's Seane Corn preview the nap pods at The Oasis. Russell Sanna, Executive Director of the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, joins the conversation to talk the importance of sleep. "Good sleep makes everything better," he insists. Find out more in the video above.
For more on sleep, click here.
For more coverage on The Huffington Post's Oasis, click here.
1. Get Enough Sleep
'"Get enough sleep' is my number one tip," says Quan, who suggests seven to eight hours a night. While this isn't always an option for many of us, especially those bustling at the convention, when the hours are available, Quan advises taking full advantage of them.
2. Sneak In A Nap
"When sleep deprived, a nap is the best way to ensure performance efficiency," explains Quan. He says when a candidate is sleep deprived but has to, say, give a speech, he or she should try resting for 15 minutes to avoid misspeaking. But when in need of that nap, a comfy bed or couch may not always be available. While The Oasis has indulgent nap pods, Quan says finding any place that is "quiet and uninterrupted" will work.
3. But Don't Nap For Too Long
A 15- to 20-minute catnap is a safe bet; any longer and you may enter what's called a delta sleep stage, which will leave you fuzzy for any upcoming activities. To avoid a nap that's too lengthy, Quan suggests setting an alarm: Sleep deprivation puts you at a higher risk for oversleeping -- an alarm will ensure you wake up.
4. Take Advantage Of Your Anchor Sleep
Ideally, we'd all get the appropriate amount of sleep at the appropriate times -- but when you're working on an altered schedule, you should, at the very least, be able to find a time block where you can get <em>some</em> sleep (even if it's, say, from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. instead of your usual 11 pm. to 7 a.m.). "There might be time during the day when [candidates] can get two to five hours of sleep fairly predictably -- they should take advantage of that," advocates Quan." While a busy schedule no doubt means an unpredictable Z-catching, every hour counts. Being part of some kind of routine with "anchored hours" (again, even if it's not for the ideal number of hours) is better for performance.
5. Have Some Caffeine
But not more than a cup or two, warns Quan. He says, "When you need to be on top of your game, a cup of coffee is reasonable." Think of coffee as "a little rescue drug when you're sleep deprived." He also points out that some of us are more sensitive to caffeine than others. It's important to remember that decaf coffee <em>does</em> contain caffeine, as do some foods -- like chocolate. Caffeine can help, but you don't want to indulge so much that it destroys the anchor hours you do have available. To avoid having trouble sleeping at night, Quan says to quit the joe once the clock strikes 3 in the afternoon.
6. Sweat A Little
When you're sleep-deprived, physical activity may be the last thing on your mind. But, Quan says, it can help. "People who are more physically active generally sleep better," he says. But you might want to start <em>before</em> crunch time (when your snoozing hours are few), so your body is accustomed to the energy output.
7. Don't Overeat, And Eat Right
While we all know the feeling of being exhausted after an indulgent meal, being stuffed to the gills isn't conducive to quality sleep. "These folks are probably going to be invited to a lot of chicken dinners," Quan says of the candidates. "They shouldn't be eating lots ... Going to bed on a full stomach makes it less likely you're going to fall asleep." To avoid the problem, Quan says to eat only until you're satisfied, despite the temptation to indulge in every last bite.
8. Abandon The Booze
While social events like the conventions seem like the prime time to indulge in a (usually free) spirit or two, it's best to stick to water when it comes to quality sleep. "It seems pretty obvious, but they should avoid drinking," Quan says of the candidates.
5 Common Insomnia Causes
Learn 5 key reasons why you can't sleep. These common insomnia causes can often be fixed very easily.