The National Sleep Foundation reports that more than half of all adults in the United States experience sleep problems more than once a week. In fact, about 40-million people have diagnosed sleep disorders, and–get this–fewer than 3-percent of those people are being treated for it.

Sleep is a big deal.  We know that sleep is essential to our health and well-being.  It helps our brains recharge and recover from stress, and it repairs the cellular damage our bodies experience every single day. 

Most experts agree that somewhere between seven and nine hours of sleep is what we should be shooting for each night.  When we get less than six hours of sleep, we start to notice serious side effects related to our mood, our ability to function, and our body’s ability to fight off disease.

As caregivers, we manage and administer medications.  We are responsible for our own health and safety as well as the health and safety of those we care for.  That’s very important work! Common sense tells us we can’t possibly function well enough to take care of all of those things if we don’t slow down, and let ourselves rest.

One doctor I interviewed for my book Take Care Tips, also stressed that even if you’re feeling functional and fine, our bodies are simply not able to function the way they should if we don’t give them enough recovery time between demanding days. 

When people are sleep-deprived, their performance levels decreases,” the doctor told me.  “But there’s a disconnect between how you think your’e doing and how you’re actually doing.” 

“It’s sneaky,”  he added.  “Like carbon monoxide poisoning.”

Yikes! That’s why I’m using this week’s Take Care Ten Minute Tip post to focus on sleep:

Get with the Program

If you’re a parent, you probably know how important it is for children to have a consistent routine when it comes to bedtime.  Even ten minutes of quiet time and deep breathing, brushing your hair, massaging your hands and feet, or some light, careful stretching is enough to make you feel comforted and relaxed. 

Turn down the lights—anything to slow the mind, and let the day go.  Whatever your special routine, it will become a signal to your body that it’s time to change modes.

How have you been sleeping lately?  Do you have a special bedtime ritual that seems to help you to slow down?

j.

 

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