Last week was National Sleep Awareness Week! This week we started Day Light Savings Time (well most of us anyway) and set our clocks ahead Saturday night or Sunday morning. How do you feel about losing that hour? Do you see it as a lost hour of sleep or a lost hour of time to be productive? I felt I lost productive time because I had to go to bed early and manage my schedule so that pets would make the time change and be ready for my work schedule Monday!
I'm writing this on Sunday, the first day of DLS time. It can be hard to adjust to time changes for some of us - and even more challenging if we have pets! With last week being a week to focus on sleep I didn't want to lose the opportunity to remind us how important sleep is and how significantly the lack of sleep can impact us.
How sleep helps us:
- Helps us process memories, actually provides a function of saving what we learned/experienced in our day
- Keeps our brain working, sifting and sorting the information of our day
- Correlates directly with our overall health
- Helps us live longer
- Process information more effectively while awake
So sleep is important but how do we improve our sleep?
- Go to bed at the same time every night - even weekends! This regular sleep and wake cycle helps our bodies have a rhythm/routine that improves our wake time and sleep time. Just like a sleep routine helps babies prepare for sleep - it helps older kids & adults too!
- Don't do work in your bedroom.
- Decorate your bedroom to be relaxing to you.
- Stop viewing media with backlit screens at least 20 minutes before you are planning to sleep.
- Have a comfortable mattress and pillows.
Many adults and kids don't get enough sleep and everyone's need for sleep is different. Often adolescents and teens need more than 10 hours a day because their bodies and brains are working hard at growing. Adults vary from 5-8 hours of sleep needed. I read an article once of an interview with Sophia Loren in her later years and she looked amazingly healthy and much younger than her age. When asked by the reporter what her secret was she said simply - "sleep". She said her sleep routine was 10 hours of sleep each night! I'm not sure how you pull that off with our busy schedules but if you need better sleep try a few or all the tips mentioned here and "hit the sack!"
For more information check out the Harvard YouTube video, "Why Sleep Matters".