Oh sleep, sleep, glorious sleep! Despite my love for you why do you remain so elusive?
March 13 is World Sleep Day. There is so much we know about the importance of sleep on our physical and mental well being, but for some reason it is still a low priority for so many. Good sleep has three key components – depth – it should be deep enough to be restorative, duration, and continuity. * Miss one of these and you are not getting good sleep. One night of poor sleep negatively impacts attention span, memory recall and learning ability. * Fourteen nights of just six hours of sleep is equivalent to 2 nights of total sleep deprivation. * Poor sleep impacts hormones causing increased hunger and appetite. This can lead to an increased risk of obesity and diabetes. On the other hand, individuals who get quality sleep are perceived as more attractive, youthful, and alert. * Sounds good doesn’t it? Most of us know at least some of the things we are supposed to do or not do, to promote better sleep – no screens a few hours before bedtime, keep the bedroom cool and for sleep and sex only, participate in relaxing activities (reading, soothing bath) before bed, and limit alcohol and caffeine intake.
So, if we know all this stuff, why is sleep such a problem in our society? Sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea can be one of the causes of poor sleep. It can be characterized by restless sleep or overall tiredness. Be sure to rule out a medical condition as the root cause of your inadequate sleep. If your problem is not medical, we need to look for other reasons why you are not sleeping well. Is it our mixed-up priorities, our sense of always having to be working, trying to juggle too much or high stress levels? Whatever it is, we need to change it. We must learn to value and prioritize good sleep. Recognize that we as individuals are valuable and our health is valuable. To be the best person we are for ourselves, our families and our workplace, we need sleep. Now, you know what to do, so go do it! Sweet dreams!