“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man (woman) healthy, wealthy and wise.” – Ben Franklin

Wow. Is managing sleep a hot topic! From Steve Pavlina (polyphasic sleep) to Dave Navarro ($47 e-book on becoming an early riser) to Tim Ferris (“hacking your sleep”) some of our leading thinkers, motivators and productivity gurus are preaching the benefits of controlling our sleep in a variety of ways-some of which are pretty drastic.

The reality is most of us don’t get enough sleep (totally guilty of working until 2 am) and constant studies prove that adequate sleep is imperative for creativity and productivity. Not to mention you treat your family much, much better. I suspect entrepreneurs and business owners sleep less than your average employee. Such is the price…

Let’s look at what these three folks have to say about improving/managing your sleep:

Steve Pavlina got loads of traction from his blog posts on polyphasic sleep. What is it? Sleeping frequently in short doses (the most extreme is 20-30 minutes at a time, 6 times per day, thus reducing sleep to about 3 hours per day). Supposedly this leads to more creative insights and alertness. Pavlina did it for a year before returning to his normal early-rise schedule of 6.5 hours of sleep per night.

Dave Navarro recommends (and teaches) early-rising for several (common) reasons: we are less fatigued in the morning, it is quieter in the morning, and there are fewer distractions. I think this varies by individual (I mean, if you live alone it is just as quiet at night as it is in the morning) and that you should map and follow your own productivity patterns versus feeling required to rise early.

Finally, personal development king Tim Ferriss offers some downright weird steps to needing less sleep, including ice baths to lower body temperature (though being out in the snow and then warming up does make me sleepy), eating on a very strict schedule, “caffeine naps” and ingesting low-glycemic index foods before bed.

If you just want to sleep well and feel better all day, consensus says: sleep in a cool, dark room, turn off all electronics at least an hour before bed, go to bed and get up at the same time every day, and don’t exercise or get involved in highly stimulating activities right before you try to sleep.

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by Steven Schlagel