How much sleep do we really need? Of course it’s very personal, but “seven to eight hours should be enough” is what we keep hearing from most sources. But is it possible to shorten this time, without hurting your health?
Feeling more tired in the winter months isnt just psychological. Seasonal variations in the amounts of light and darkness were exposed to have a powerful effect on our biology, says Rubin Naiman, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Arizona and director of Circadian Health Associates. Darkness prompts our bodies to produce the sleep hormone melatonin, making us feel fatigued.
1. Get into a rhythm.
Your mental and physical energy are influenced by the short days and long nights of winter, says Judith Wurtman, PhD, research scientist at MIT and coauthor of TheSerotonin Power Diet. People are more energetic earlier in the day. To that end, concentrate your highest-power tasks in the morning and early afternoon, and try to exercise later in the day to up your energy.
2. Fill up on protein and healthy carbs.
Make sure to eat protein at breakfast (think eggs with lowfat cheese, turkey bacon) and lunch to …