Imagine waking up in a great mood, refreshed and full of energy. Instead of feeling groggy and doing your work halfheartedly, the workday transforms into a sharp flow of productivity and creativity. After what seems like the shortest eight hours in months, the usual list of cooking, cleaning, walking the dog, and parenting no longer feel like a list of painful chores, but rather preferable alternatives to watching television.
Such are the gifts of a good nights sleep.
Unfortunately, this utopian version of the day is far off the mark for many. In
our busy, overscheduled lives, sleep is something that is optional and fit into
the margins. Virgin Pulse, a company dedicated to enhancing health,
well-being and engagement of employees in other companies, conducted a
recent study in order to better understand problems with employee sleep
habits. Their research found that 76% of employees felt tired most days of
the week, with 15% falling asleep during the day at least once per week.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the adults from 18-64 should be
getting 7-9 hours of sleep.
Cutting back on sleep may provide more hours in a
day, but it comes at the price of our mood, energy, cognitive performance,
productivity, and overall health. Is skipping out on sleep really worth the cost?
When you get enough sleep, several beneficial things happen in your body - a boost in mood, mental functioning, and overall energy and health. When you get an adequate amount of quality sleep, the body regulates “happy hormones” in your brain, such as dopamine, epinephrine and serotonin, which are the chemicals that make you “feel good”.
Another benefit to quality sleep is sustained and improved focus – improving concentration and productivity at the workplace and home. Sleep also plays a role in the process of storing information into your memory, which is why sleep is especially important for students of all ages.
Sleep is vital to physical health. It helps maintain a healthy immune system and increases your body’s ability to fight diseases and infections. Sleep also increases the ability to sustain energy levels. Studies have shown reduced rates of Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer, obesity, and cardiovascular disease in subjects that receive appropriate amounts of sleep.
With numerous benefits of proper sleep in mind, here are some tips to help achieve and optimal nights rest.
Keep a cool room, below 70 degrees while sleeping.
Refrain from drinking any caffeine after 3pm (6pm at the latest).
Use lavender essential oil on your pillow to inhale while trying to fall asleep.
To fall asleep quick and get the best rest possible, make sure all technology is put away at least a half hour before bed. Technology has become one of the biggest enemies to sleep. Playing on a phone or laptop while lying in bed keeps your mind alert and engaged, and the blue light emitted by screens suppresses the hormone melatonin, which helps control your sleeping cycle. Try wearing blue light glasses in the evening to help block out some of that light.
Try to develop a sleeping routine, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
Drink some chamomile and/or lavender tea before bed.
Adequate sleep improves quality of life by boosting mood, enhancing mental functioning and improving energy levels. Get back on track is by setting a goal to reach the suggested number of hours for your age group and experience the difference it can make in daily life.
As Benjamen Franklin said, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”