Enter Sandman

Enter-Sandman

Getting enough sleep is no easy feat. Balancing work, play and the 11 p.m. bark-a-thon next door can make it downright impossible to get your recommended eight hours. Which is a real shame, because sleep happens to be a miracle drug: It can keep your weight in check, your attention span sharp and your mood… a lot less cranky. And while August might seem like your last chance to catch up on some much needed shut-eye before getting back to the fall grind, you can actually make zzz’s like a pro year ‘round—if you do it right.

Power Nap: GOOD
Sleeping in the office might be frowned upon, but a 15- or 20-minute snooze at your desk can lead to increased alertness and make retaining important information—like everything your boss says—easier. In Japan, work naps, or inemuri, are considered a positive side-effect of working too hard and are often faked by those hoping to look more committed to the job. But don’t buy a one-way ticket to Tokyo just yet. The inemuri rules say you have to sleep upright, so that means no heads on desks.
Famous Power Napper: Albert Einstein. Einstein kept his naps brief by holding a pencil or spoon above a ceramic plate as he dozed off. Once he fell asleep, the object would fall from his hand and onto the plate, waking him up with a loud clang.

Epic Nap: NOT GOOD
Think twice about that long, mid-afternoon siesta. Naps that last more than two or three hours can cause sleep inertia, the groggy, “where-am-I” sensation that makes operating heavy machinery—like a car—a bad idea. This happens when you wake up from a deep sleep and your body is still producing high levels of melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy at night. To make matters worse, sleep inertia can lead to poor nighttime sleep quality and even insomnia.
Famous Epic Napper: Lyndon B. Johnson. Our 36th president, Johnson was known to split his work days in two by taking a long snooze from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m.

Early to Bed: GOOD
Staying up past midnight for an epic Godfather marathon is always tempting. But if you’re watching your weight, think about saving the classic mob trilogy on the DVR and hitting the hay instead. An early bedtime has been shown to give you a boost in daytime energy, which is exactly the type of fuel that makes hitting the gym— and thus, maintaining a healthy weight—that much easier. Not to mention, going to bed early can also help you skip the late-night munchies.
Famous Early-to-Bedder: Ludwig Van Beethoven. Beethoven kept a strict, 10 p.m. bedtime, and often counted out exactly 60 coffee beans for his morning coffee—the amount he believed resulted in the perfect cup of joe.

Late to Rise: NOT GOOD
A 1 p.m. wake-up call might sound like just what the doctor ordered after a few too many margaritas the night before, but oversleeping has been linked to medical problems such as diabetes, heart disease and increased risk of death. However, if you find yourself logging more than nine hours of sleep a night, it might not be because your bed is so comfy. Obstructive sleep apnea is a common breathing disorder that can lead to an increased need for sleep. So if it’s past noon and you still haven’t felt the urge to get out of bed, you might want to talk to your doctor for real this time.
Famous Late Riser: Winston Churchill. Sleeping in was so important to Churchill that he kept a bed in the House of Parliament.