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9 Ways to Make Your Sleep More Efficient

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Whether its learning when to drink coffee, getting more sun, or eating smaller meals, these nine tricks will help you make your sleep more efficient, effective, and work harder for you during the daylight hours. 

Have a Daily Bedtime

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Pick a time to go to bed you can stick with on a consistent basis. Allow yourself 15 minutes to actually fall asleep and set your alarm for a time that gives you an amount as close as possible to your new prescribed quota and that will still coincide with the end of a full 90-minute sleep cycle (e.g., if you need seven hours of sleep and go to bed at 11:30, set the alarm for 7:15 a.m., for five complete cycles.)

Related: 10 Tips to Get the Best Night’s Sleep

Stop Sleeping In

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Don’t sleep in if you can help it. Almost more than actual sleep, your body craves consistency and not being woken up in the middle of a sleep cycle. If you’re up late, set your alarm for your usual time and try to get as many uninterrupted cycles as possible; try to take a nap the afternoon before or after.

Embrace the Sun

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In the morning, spend ten minutes in direct sunlight to start your internal clock on schedule. This is key for setting a sleep schedule and, studies have shown, may help with sports performance, weight loss, and even cancer prevention.

Related: 7 Worrisome Facts About Caffeine

Eat Smaller Meals

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If you’re feeling fatigued during the day, consider eating smaller meals. Digestion is the top drain on energy, and nutritionists commonly report that grazers tend to have more energy.

Drink Coffee

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If you’re tired after your morning routine, drink coffee. It’s the preferred alertness aid for presidents and generals, has a longer safety record than drugs like Provigil, and numerous proven health benefits.

Exercise: Make Your Sleep More Efficient

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A University of Washington study found that people who ran or walked at least 40 minutes three times a week experienced longer periods of deep sleep. And don’t worry about when you exercise: Another study from Arizona State University found that there was zero difference in sleep quality between people who worked out within four hours of going to bed and those who vegged out on the couch all evening. 

Related: 8 Signs You Might Have a Sleep Disorder

Take a Power Nap

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To take a classic ten-minute power nap, Kirsty Kerin, a sleep researcher with Circadian Technologies, suggests:
Find a cool, dark place that has white noise, like a fan or computer hum. Set an alarm clock for 15 minutes later. Take deep, slow breaths and let your mind wander. If you don’t fall asleep within five minutes, you probably don’t need the nap.

Have a routine, like taking off your shoes and turning off the ringer on your phone, that you do every time before you nap. And remember, some researchers say napping is addictive, so you may not want to do this every day – unless, like Churchill, you can plan your cabinet meetings around your naps.

Related: 10 Bedtime Rituals for Better Sleep

Take a 90 Minute Nap

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According to a recent Harvard study a 90-minute nap can produce as much improvement in memory and learning as a full night’s sleep. Even very brief naps can be effective. (Just don’t wake up after 20 minutes and before 90, or you’ll be interrupting deep sleep.) 

Embrace Darkness

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This one’s simple: Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool, and try not to do anything else there but sleep and have sex.

More from Men’s Journal:

10 Products to Help You Get a Better Night’s Sleep

How to Look Less Tired

10 Common Bad Habits and How to Break Them

Ted Cruz sends his father to Franklin Graham rally at state Capitol
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Rafael Cruz and Eleanor Darragh celebrate a win by their son, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz of Texas in the Iowa caucuses on Monday. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

We’ve picked up the first sign of GOP presidential primary activity around the Rev. Franklin Graham’s Wednesday rally at the state Capitol, which is expected to draw thousands of evangelical voters.

We’re told that Rafael Cruz, father of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, has been given a speaking slot at the event, which will be directed at passage of “religious liberty” legislation before the General Assembly.

Rafael Cruz, himself a preacher, fled Cuba in the late 1950s, lived in Texas, then became a Canadian citizen during his residence there. He returned to the United States with his family in the mid-’70s. He renounced his Canadian citizenship and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2005.

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Ted Cruz sends his father to Franklin Graham rally at state Capitol
External image

Rafael Cruz and Eleanor Darragh celebrate a win by their son, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz of Texas in the Iowa caucuses on Monday. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

We’ve picked up the first sign of GOP presidential primary activity around the Rev. Franklin Graham’s Wednesday rally at the state Capitol, which is expected to draw thousands of evangelical voters.

We’re told that Rafael Cruz, father of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, has been given a speaking slot at the event, which will be directed at passage of “religious liberty” legislation before the General Assembly.

Rafael Cruz, himself a preacher, fled Cuba in the late 1950s, lived in Texas, then became a Canadian citizen during his residence there. He returned to the United States with his family in the mid-’70s. He renounced his Canadian citizenship and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2005.

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Bill Gates was asked to choose the 8 records he’d take with him to a desert island — these are the songs he picked

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Bill Gates.

Bill Gates appeared on BBC Radio 4′s long-running “Desert Island Discs” show on Sunday.

The program invites guests to select the eight records they would take with them were they to be cast away on a desert island.

The castaways also select a book and a luxury item.

Here’s what Gates chose — from Willie Nelson, to Ed Sheeran, to his favorite songs from Broadway musiclas — and why.

David Bowie and Queen — ‘Under Pressure.’ Gates said: “In my 20s and 30s I worked a lot, but a few Fridays and Saturdays we’d go out and dance, so this kind of reminds me of those disco days with a bit of weekend freedom.”

Willie Nelson — ‘Blue Skies.’ Gates said this was his favorite of the picks. The night before his wedding to Melinda, Gates surprised her with a special performance from Nelson on a beach in Hawaii.

Ed Sheeran — ‘Sing.’ This is a favorite of Gates’ 13-year-old daughter Phoebe.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience — ‘Are You Experienced?’ Gates said of this song: “[Microsoft cofounder] Paul Allen was far more into music than I was and the musician he loved the most was Jimi Hendrix. And because I was younger, he’d sometimes taunt me with the title of this song — ‘Are you experienced?’ — because I had gotten drunk or other various things, so this was one of our favorites.”

U2 — ‘One.’ Gates said: “When the [Bill & Melinda Gates] Foundation was just getting started around 2000, Paul [Allen] told me that I should meet Bono. And I didn’t prioritize it because I thought a musician is not really going to understand this global health stuff. But we finally did get to meet and I was amazing about he had thought about it, read about it, so it started a partnership, and he’s been absolutely amazing.”

The Beatles — ‘Two Of Us.’ Gates said he chose this song because his “goof friend” Steve Jobs mentioned it when the two famously gave a joint interview not long before the Apple founder’s death. Jobs said the song was kind of like the journey the two of them had been on, working with each other, and sometimes as fierce rivals.

Rodgers & Hammerstein — ‘How Can Love Survive?’ Gates said he chose this song from the Broadway version of “The Sound of Music” because it is one of his and Melinda’s favorite from the musical. He also said Warren Buffett and his first wife Susan once sang it to the couple.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Anthony Ramos, Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, Leslie Odom Jr. — ‘My Shot.’ This song comes from the musical Hamilton, which is currently on Broadway. Gates said it appealed because: “It’s about a young person saying ‘hey I’m going to take a risk, I’m going to get out there and try something different.’”

His book choice was: “The Better Angels of Our Nature” by Steven Pinker. Gates chose the Collection of Lectures DVD from The Learning Company as his luxury item.

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