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8. Mental Fitness > 70. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

By programming the associations your brain makes as you start to feel sleepy, you can set yourself up for a good night’s sleep—or an awful one.

Here’s the straight dope about getting a good night’s sleep. There’s no miracle method here, no secret that will let you survive and thrive on less than four hours a night. But hopefully, you should be able to make sure that you spend more of the time you allocate to sleeping actually asleep, and spend less of the time you want to be awake sleepy.

Everybody has slightly different preferences about when and how they sleep. The idea of morning people and evening people is solid fact, not myth.1 People also vary in how much sleep they need, and how they feel when they don’t get it. We don’t need to be macho about it. If you need nine hours a night, that’s normal; don’t starve yourself. Many of the people who supposedly need very little sleep are nappers, such as Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher, two British prime ministers who famously got by on four hours a night or less. Others kept up sparse sleep habits for short periods only when they had big projects going, such as Leonardo da Vinci, who reported that he’d sleep for 15 minutes every four hours.2


  

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