ZZZ… Getting more sleep

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Let’s start with a riddle:

I weaken all men for hours each day.

I show you strange visions while you are away.

I take you by night, by day take you back,

None suffer to have me, but do from my lack.

What am I?

If you guessed “SLEEP,” you are correct!

Sleep is something we tend to talk about frequently, but often it’s the first thing to go when our schedules get busy. Kids avoid naps, college students choose all-nighters over a good night’s rest, and adults are either chasing the kids or catching up on work. It almost feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to sleep.

Sleep is vital to our existence. We need it to recharge and refresh our bodies.

Benefits of sleep

  • Improve critical thinking skills – During sleep, your brain not only repairs itself, but also begins to transfer memories and facts into your long-term memory. It works to help you understand the information gathered throughout the day, teaching you how to problem solve and discuss important topics when you wake up the next day.
  • Improve mood, ultimately improving relationships – When you get sleep, you tend to be more positive and uplifting. This transfers into your relationships, making you more pleasant to be around.
  • Stay healthier – Sleep benefits the heart and increases your immune system. It also repairs your muscles to increase your results when working out. Rest days are vital to staying in tip top shape.
  • Better sex life – yeah, I said it. Getting sleep increases energy level and can ultimately increase your sex life. If the above reasons to get more sleep aren’t enough, this one should be!

How do we catch up on sleep?

  •  Start with giving yourself a consistent bedtime. In my house, we have a “10:30 Power Down” schedule. At 10:30, all electronics get turned off and put away and we put ourselves to bed.
  • Be strategic with your napping. Avoid taking a nap later in the day or after dinner. If you feel like you have to take a nap, set an alarm to make sure you wake up within 20-30 minutes.
  • Have a relaxing bedtime schedule. Your body needs to wind down. Try taking a bath or reading a book instead of playing on your phone for hours before you go to bed. Check the lighting in your room – is your harsh overhead light on or do you have lamps on?
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, or heavy foods before bedtime.

As we roll into the summer, don’t forget to roll into bed more often. Catch up on your sleep and give yourself the edge up on conquering whatever life throws at you next.

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