How often do you catch yourself yawning during the day?
In 2020, Americans averaged 5.5 hours of sleep per night, far less than the 9 – 10 hours most humans require for optimal health.
I know, I hear you. “I already have too much to do! How can I spare even one more hour for sleep?”
Here’s the good news: increasing sleep improves concentration and memory as well as increases immune function.
In other words, what you “lose” in sleep time, you gain in greater concentration and efficiency.
Years ago I visited a dear friend and colleague during their family’s annual holiday celebrations. Around 9 p.m. everyone started to yawn and talked about going to bed.
“It’s so nice to get in bed early,” said my friend, “and have some extra sleep time.”
I was amazed. I was gearing up for a conversation, movie, or rousing game of Scrabble.
What I learned, though, was that my friend and her family met each day during the holiday break with more energy, more vitality, and more enthusiasm for our time together. Early to bed made for better moods, more energy, and deeper connections during the holiday season.
Professor Emeritus James Maas, who spent over 40 years researching sleep, offers these ways of improving your “sleep hygiene”:
- Avoid vigorous exercise 3 – 4 hours before sleep
- Lower lights (40-watt bulb)
- Minimize electronic light exposure (stimulates pineal gland)
- Slow activities
- Create a routine
- GRADUALLY move bedtime back, 15 minutes each week
- Keep same waking time, 7 days a week
- Body clock vs. optimal sleep
- (Kick the dog out of bed J)