Friday, April 17, 2009

Sweet dreams?

Sleep is one of those things that can affect our ability to live our lives to the fullest. Sometimes stress can get in the way of getting a good nights sleep, but - it is possible to learn the skills to calm our minds and slip into that quiet place where we are able to rejuvenate and heal our bodies and minds so that we are prepared and equipped to feel refreshed and rested the next day. This article does a terrific job of explaining how sleep is truly a necessity v. a luxery when it comes to our daily performance...

Sometimes the lack of sleep can affect us in ways we might not always be aware of. For example, not getting enough sleep can aggaravate the daily stress we experience, leave us feeling heavy and tired, make us prone to weight gain among other things.

For those of us who have suffered from insomnia resulting from that "busy brain" that just wont cooperate and calm down, read on - there are some terrific tips on dealing with stress and anxiety!

If your dragging during the week and using the weekends to "make up for lost sleep" this article poses some very helpful tips and talks about taking "power naps" to rejuvenate during the day.... 20 things everyone needs to know from a London source, The Independent I found a brief writing by James B Maas about sleeping that I wanted to share.



Treating sleep as a necessity rather than a luxury is the secret to being a peak performer. When you don't get proper sleep, you experience increased stress, feelings of lethargy, weight gain, reduced immunity and lowered productivity and memory. How do you know if you are getting proper sleep? Answer the following questions:

* Do I need an alarm clock to wake up at the right time?

* Do I often fall asleep in meetings, after heavy meals or when watching TV?

* Do I often sleep extra hours on weekend mornings?

* Do I feel tired during the day? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it's likely you need more sleep.


1. Get proper sleep

Identify the amount of sleep you need to be fully alert all day and get that amount every night. For most adults, it's eight hours. For teenagers, it's nine.

2. Establish a regular sleep schedule

Go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up at the same time every morning - including weekends.

3. Get continuous sleep

For sleep to be rejuvenating, you should get your required amount of sleep in one continuous block. Any nicotine or caffeine after 2pm or alcohol within three hours of bedtime will disrupt your sleep.

4. Make up for lost sleep

For every two hours awake, you add one hour of debt to your sleep debt account. It takes eight hours of sleep to restore 16 hours of waking activity. You cannot make up for large sleep losses during the week by sleeping in at the weekend. Try taking a 20-minute power nap at midday.


1. Keep your bedroom quiet, dark and cool

Sleep on a mattress with individual pocketed coils that reduce motion transfer, or a foam mattress designed to support your back properly.

2. Reduce stress

Even if you are sleep-deprived, anxiety can delay sleep onset. Try relaxation exercises. Write down your concerns before you go to bed - your worries then won't interfere with your sleep. Don't watch TV within two hours of bedtime. Take a warm bath before bed. Reading for pleasure before turning off the lights will ease you into sleep.

James B Maas, PhD, is a Stephen H Weiss Presidential Fellow, Professor and past Chairman of Psychology at Cornell University. He is the recipient of the American Psychological Association's Outstanding Educator Award and the author of Power Sleep.

What are some things that you have done to make sure you are able to get that good nights sleep?

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