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Sleep Deprivation

With longer hours, and doing more with less, many executives are not getting enough rest.  Did you know that the long-term effects of sleep deprivation include cancer and diabetes? Are you aware that adults between the ages of 32 and 49 who sleep less than seven hours a night are significantly more likely to be obese? Recent studies from Harvard and Columbia reveal that this is the case.  I work with my executive  clients, coaching them on raising their awareness for a need to get sufficient rest.  Without it, their ability to make good decisions can be severely compromised.

Falling asleep at wheel
"At least 100,000 accidents and 1,500 fatalities are due to falling asleep at the wheel...these accidents cost American society more than $30 billion annually!"
National Sleep Foundation

Conversely, at least eight hours of good quality sleep promotes health, safety, productivity and overall well-being.

Other Effects of Sleep Deprivation:
  • Tiredness
  • Irritability & edginess
  • Inability to tolerate stress
  • Problems with concentration & memory
  • Behavioral, learning, or social problems
  • Frequent infections
  • Blurred vision vague discomfort
  • Alterations in appetite
  • Activity intolerance

Sleepy-Time Tips:

  1. Keep regular hours, go to bed at a certain hour and rise at the same time in the mornings, even on the weekends
  2. Stay away from stimulants like caffeine, except in the mornings, and especially in the evenings
  3. Use the bed for sleeping, don't watch TV, eat, or do work on a laptop
  4. Avoid bright lights around the house before bed
  5. Don't stress if you feel you are not getting enough sleep
  6. Avoid exercise at least 3 hours before bedtime
  7. Don't go to bed hungry (more on this later)
  8. Have a bedtime routine e.g. having a cup of herbal tea an hour before going to bed
  9. Avoid looking at the clock if you wake in the middle of the night
  10. Get out of bed if you don't fall asleep within 30 minutes and then try again a little later when you feel sleepy
  11. Keep the bedroom at an ambient temperature, a little cooler is better than too warm
  12. White noise can help put you to sleep e.g. through a fan or a 'noise machine'
  13. Avoid alcohol, although it may help put you to sleep, it will cause you to wake once it has worn off
  14. Only use sleeping pills as a last resort, try a natural remedy instead (see 'natural remedies')
Bedtime Foods to Help You Sleep:
  • Small bowl of oatmeal or cereal with low-fat milk
  • Yogurt with granola sprinkled on top
  • Half bagel or crackers with peanut butter or slice of cheese/deli sliced turkey
  • Sliced apple with 1 ounce of cheese

Foods to Avoid before Bedtime:

  • Heavy foods and/or too large of a serving
  • Spicy foods, especially if you are prone to heartburn
  • Too much liquid, that may cause you to wake up, in order to use the bathroom
  • Alcohol, it may make you sleepy, but then cause you to wake later
  • Caffeine is a stimulant that increased the activity of your nervous system

Natural Remedies for Sleep:

  • Valerian root
  • L-Theanine
  • Melatonin
  • Corydalis
  • Passion flower
  • Homeopathy
  • Aromatherapy
     

As part of your overall health consider a great massage.