University of California at San Francisco neuroscientist Aric Prather's life's work is about helping people get better sleep. While studying "how poor sleep impacts physical health and emotional well-being," he also applies cognitive behavioral therapy as a treatment for insomnia and to get sleep apnea sufferers comfortable with CPAP machines. Basically, Prather is the sandman. His new book The Sleep Prescription is described as a seven day guide to "unlocking your best rest."
Here's one interesting tip that Prather shared in today's New York Times:
If you regularly reach for coffee to get you through an afternoon slump, you'll still have caffeine in your system by bedtime, said Dr. Prather.
Instead, he recommends getting an energy boost elsewhere. You can go for a brisk walk in the afternoon, or spend five to 10 minutes taking a break from work and engaging your brain in a simple task — pull weeds in the garden, reorganize a bookshelf, turn on some music and really focus on a song. Focusing on a non-work task can energize our brains, Dr. Prather said, jolting us out of our routine. Or, for a more extreme option, stick your head in the freezer. That brief shock of cold activates your arousal system, Dr. Prather said, like jumper cables on a car battery to wake you up — no coffee run needed.