How I Experimented on Myself: Here are 4 Things That Helped Me Sleep

sleepA while back I did a big post that lays out what you need to know about the science behind sleep and sleeping better. But if you’re a regular reader, you probably ask the same question I do:

Hey, does this really work?

I don’t post this research so we’re all better prepared for Jeopardy. And if it’s stuff that only works in a lab, well, I don’t live in a lab.

So I’ve been testing a few things. Like any mad scientist, on myself.

Here’s what I learned:

Seeing Trends Can Tell You A Lot

By using a cool little app called Sleep Cycle I was able to track a lot of data regarding how I sleep.

Merely seeing trends gave me more insight than you might expect into some bad habits.

I realized that the transition from the weekend back to the workweek was rough. I always screwed myself on Sunday nights:

help me sleep

What was happening? My weekend schedule was very different than my workweek schedule and this meant a lot less sleep on Sunday night.

As if I really needed something to make Monday mornings worse.

Continue Reading →

How Naps Affect Your Brain and Why You Should Have One Every Day

napI’m a big fan of afternoon naps. In fact, I was super excited when joining Buffer to hear about how the team is pro-napping. It’s not everyday you come across a company that’s open to letting employees take a snooze whenever they want one.

Naps aren’t for everyone, though. I’ve heard lots of people say naps don’t make them feel better, so I wanted to explore how naps affect your brain and whether they really are good for you or not.

How sleep affects us

Better sleeping is known to provide lots of health benefits. These can include better heart function, hormonal maintenance and cell repair as well as boosting memory and improving cognitive function. Basically, sleeping gives your body a chance to deal with everything that happened during the day, repair itself and reset for tomorrow.

Sleep deprivation, therefore, actually harms us in several ways. One of the most obvious harms is that we have trouble focusing when we’re sleep deprived. Leo wrote about this on the Buffer blog before:

someone who is severely sleep deprived is in fact as attentive and awake as you are, with one big difference. Here is what a recent study found:

Whether we are sleep deprived or not, we lose focus at times. And that is precisely where the sleep deprived person lands in a trap. Once we start to lose focus and have received the right amount of sleep, our brain can compensate for that and increase attention. If we are sleep deprived, our brain can’t refocus

Continue Reading →

Why Most Olympic Records Are Broken in the Afternoon: Your Body’s Best Time For Everything

bodyclockOne thing that we’re obsessed with here at Buffer is obviously the best times to share on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

It just so happens that with social networks, the timing of when your posts go out plays a vital role in your success. Since we’ve got our heads in this all day, every day, I wondered if timing plays a big role in other things we do every day.

So I looked into how our body responds to timing and how we can utilize that knowledge. It turns out that we actually have a very sophisticated internal body clock that governs almost everything we do, without us even realizing it. Read on to find out your body’s best time for everything.

How the body clock works

Our body clock is a small group of cells made up of unique ‘body clock’ genes. These cells turn on and off and tell other parts of the body what time it is and what to do. In fact, most of our individual organs have their own internal body clock cells as well.

Continue Reading →