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Many people who are on an early-morning weekday schedule (7:00 AM in my case) will tend to have later wake-up hours during holidays and/or weekends. However in my case, this makes it really difficult on Monday mornings.

What do you think would be the better option to sleep as long as possible on weekends so that you get up fully rested?

  1. sleep 1 to 2 hours more until 9:00 AM OR
  2. to still get up at 7:00 AM but then have a nap for 1 1/2 to 2 hours in the afternoon

I am interested in what would be the best practice, taking into consideration health, as well as developing a set routine and long-term habit.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

The thing I have realized is my levels of rest and sleep depend on too many things other than just the sleeping time.

Here are my experiences.

You have to ask yourself, what kind of tiredness do I have to take care of?

  1. Physical
  2. Mental
  3. Emotional

At times when you are having a great time with friends, family on an event or party or day/ night out you tend to not at all feel tired. Try to pick up or do something else and your mind does not want to do so.

We need rest at various levels. The physical body needs its rest and so does the mind. There are times you could sleep HOURS but if your MIND does not go into DEEP SLEEP, then you do not feel rested. Especially, if there is some anxiety or worry in the mind that keeps it in "hyper" mode.

I hope the above highlights some aspects of the variety.

So, what do you do?

At various levels the following things affect each of the above types of rest and tiredness in different ways.

  • Body
    • A physically tired body sleeps better and gets deeper rest
    • Muscles - Under exercised (lack of physical activity) vs Excess physical labor (rare for most people these days).
    • Food - The kind of food you eat will also impact your sleep
  • Breath/ Oxygen / Pure/ Fresh Air
    • e.g. Outdoors v/s Polluted City with no trees
  • Mind

    • Is like the surface of water. It takes a while before ripples settle down.
    • Anxiety, worry, or MENTAL ACTIVITY (e.g. Computers, TV etc) before hitting the bed carry over into less deeper rest.
  • Emotions

    • At a deeper level lie emotions.. Much deeper impact on your system and its well being

Things & Solutions that help:

  • Suitable exercise, Yoga, Physical Activity (neither over nor under)
  • Food - Diet, Naturalness, Quantity, Quality, Activating vs Calming etc.
  • Breath - Practice Pranayamas
  • Mind - Meditation, etc. (Meditation is more powerful than power naps many times)

Massage helps all of the above as well. Full body massage or self-abhyanga can calm the system down a lot.

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I read 2 kinds of studies related to sleep and productivity:

  1. People staying in total darkness for a few weeks: these studies showed that our natural sleeping cycles are not 8 hours every 24 hours, but 6 hours + a 30 min-1hour nap every 24 hours. It means we are built for having short naps: so whenever you can afford it, you should do it! At least it is what your body would do!

  2. Comparing productivity of working groups with a nap (less than 1 hour) versus a group without a nap: these studies showed that groups with a nap show a higher productivity (even if they spend less time working as they spend it to sleep)

In summary, all I read on the topic (+ my personal experience) advocate for very regular hours, both in WE and during the week, including 30-45 min power naps every day. Altogether: save time + enjoy!!!

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Through trial and error, I've found this provides the best balance of getting-extra-rest vs staying-in-the-routine:

I keep my alarm set for my normal wake-up time (e.g., 5 am) even on the weekends, but will immediately turn it off and go back to bed for as long as I need to feel rested.

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I find this terribly wrong in my case since turning off the alarm would result in waking up very late and with a very hard start of the actual activity. Actually getting up late even though it should provide more rest, creates a latency in starting work up which is very hard to compensate, and this does not happen for example when i get up at 7:00 AM regardless of how tired I am. – Mike Dec 10 '13 at 15:52

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