Get your beauty rest – sleep!

The excitement of Santa’s visit always made getting to sleep on Christmas Eve especially difficult when you were a child. I remember the panic in your voices when you would call me in your room and claim that you were unable to sleep. You asked if Santa would still come if you weren’t asleep. I tried to assure you that, yes, Santa would come; but I also assured you that you would fall asleep. Relax. Everything’s fine. Close your eyes. Sleep will come.

I wish it were so easy! While these words always worked when you were young, getting to sleep, staying asleep, and finding time to sleep aren’t as easy when you’re an adult.

I’m certainly no expert on sleep. In fact, I think I’ve done just about everything wrong when it comes to sleep, but I hope if you start now, you’ll develop good habits and improve your health as well.

So here’s my attempt to convince you that while it’s not always easy, you need to make time to sleep.

Did you know that driving when tired is just as dangerous as driving under the influence?

Did you know that getting only 5 hours of sleep per night increases your risk of developing diabetes by 50%?

Did you know that skin cells hydrate and renew themselves while you’re sleeping? (Thus, beauty sleep!)

Did you know that appetite hormones subside when you sleep?

Did you know that sleep deprivation increases your risk for heart disease and mood disorders?

Did you know that your body naturally craves sleep, food, and water; but lack of sleep causes your body to crave food, especially carbohydrates? (This is why getting the proper amount of sleep helps reduce weight gain.)

So here are a few tips to help you sleep better:

Don’t use electronics or watch TV in bed.

Sleep in a cool room, ideally about 65 degrees.

If you don’t fall asleep in 15 minutes, get up and do something else. You’ll stress yourself out just lying in bed trying to go to sleep. (Sounds like the problem you had on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa.)

Take a hot bath before going to bed, but don’t exercise close to bedtime – too much stimulation.

Keep your cell phone at least 3 feet from your bed and make sure you cannot see the light it emits or hear any sounds from your phone.

Go to bed seven and a half hours before you need to get up. This should enable you to get the 7 hours of sleep you need to be at your best in the morning.

And if a full night’s sleep isn’t possible, consider learning how to nap. A 20 minute power nap can provide a real brain boost.

Hope these tips help, and don’t worry…Santa will come…relax…close your eyes…you’ll fall asleep.