Meredith Vieira says she quit her “Today” show job over her 2:30 a.m. wake up call — because losing valuable beauty sleep wasn’t worth the millions. Here are a few tips from your sleep doc to help you live better and lead better despite early morning wake up calls.
- Use the afternoon circadian dip in alertness to your advantage. Take a nap after lunch to pay up your sleep debt. If you are sleeping from ten at night to four in the morning (working for early morning show), then take a two-hour nap from noon to two o’clock. Avoid an evening nap because it can disrupt your sleep. If you sleep in until eight or nine on weekends, truncate or even eliminate the afternoon nap. If you prefer to continue the weekday routine, that is perfectly fine, too.
- Exercise for thirty minutes every day. This will improve your deep sleep and your alertness, emotions, and information management. Every studio needs a stationary bike. Use it when reviewing data, watching TV, or taking a break from work.
- Enjoy a good lunch. Avoid a starchy heavy dinner as it can disrupt your deep sleep.
- Avoid caffeine after one o’clock as it can rob you of your deep sleep. The early morning caffeine will help maximize alertness, but use it judiciously.
- Avoid alcohol within three hours of bedtime because it will rob you of your REM sleep and make your sleep non-restorative. Start drinking early!
- Stay alert while driving to work, especially on those dark winter mornings. Most fatal accidents occur during early morning hours.
- Avoid staring at bright light in the evening. It will make it harder to fall asleep at eight o’clock.Sleep Well, Lead Well. Sleep Well, Live Well. Stay Awake, Drive Safe.This post is dedicated to journalists who work long hours on insufficient sleep to keep us informed.
Adopted from my book, “Sleep Well, Lead Well”