How’s Your Sleep These Days?

We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep.  William Shakespeare

Over the last two years, statistics show a dramatic increase in sleep disorders brought on by the upheaval of the pandemic. Whether this is your situation, or you find sleep problematic in general, here are a three tips you may not have considered.

1. Weighted blanket. These five to thirty pound (based on your body weight) blankets create, what occupational therapists call, “deep-pressure stimulation.” This is thought to reduce stress by putting your focus on physical sensations instead of what may be swirling in your head.

2. Melatonin. Experts suggest that melatonin signals the brain that it’s time to shut down for the night. The over-the-counter supplement is quite safe with minimal to no side effects for doses up to 10 milligrams.

3. Turn off your computer/phone before bedtime. Avoid what David Neubauer, MD, calls “doom-scrolling.” This is the aimless intake of negative headlines and social posts. Even if your Facebook feed doesn’t rile you up before you retire for the night, staring at the blue glow can inhibit melatonin secretion. 

P.S. Dr. Bhanu Kolla, Mayo Clinic’s Center for Sleep Medicine, thinks the negative content is much more detrimental than the light. 

Affirmation: I will sleep well tonight.

Coaching questions: If a good night’s sleep is eluding you, what will you do to help yourself? If the tips above don’t work for you, what else might you try—exercise, change of diet, evaluating your sleep environment and routine? 

Photo by Dominic Sansotta on Unsplash

How Did You Sleep Last Night?

Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together. Thomas Dekker, actor

Sleep, such a boring topic, something we take for granted. However, if you are one of the seventy-nine percent of Americans getting less than the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night you need to know how lack of sleep may be affecting you. 

Sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke. You may also be experiencing weight gain, irritability, depression, impaired short term memory, decreased libido, poor judgment, decreased productivity, and a decreased resistance to viral infections. If you have a goal of better health, start with improving your sleep habits. You’re worth it!

Affirmation: I take care of myself with adequate sleep.

Coaching questions: What’s keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep? It is worth it to change some habits so you can have better health? What are you willing to do? When will you start?


Photo by Katya Austin on Unsplash

Live Like An Ikarian

We just forget to die. Ikarian woman interviewed by Blue Zones researcher (Ikaria is a Greek Island where many live to be over 100)

People on Ikaria rarely, if ever, experience dementia which affects more than 5 million people in the United States. Here are a few lifestyle tips to help you live a longer, healthier life like the Ikarians. 

…Challenge yourself to master new skills. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the type of activity doesn’t matter. Find something new you enjoy and master it.

…According to the Alzheimer’s Prevention Program, eating whole foods like beans, greens, berries, olive oil, and whole grains will help you improve your cognitive processes.  

…Avoid chronic stress. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital found that those who participated in mediation increased the amount of gray matter density in the learning and memory area of their brains. Daily exercise is also recommended as a stress reliever and to protect your mind.

…Get enough sleep! Quality sleep without the aid of medication is most important.

Affirmation: I choose to live a healthy life. 

Coaching questions: What do you do to stay healthy? What can you do better? What’s one thing you will add or change today to do the most you can to avoid the onset of dementia? It’s never too late to begin.

Nap Time

Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap. Barbara Jordan, American lawyer, educator, politician who was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement.

Three of my youngest grand-girls started Kindergarten this Fall. Remember when Kindergarten was half-a-day and you brought your nap rug so you could have a short snooze to make it through the morning? I wasn’t happy with nap time but if I went back to school today I might be more amenable to the concept. Today, Kindergarten is all day with no naps.

Naps don’t make up for poor quality nighttime sleep but, according to the National Sleep Foundation, a 20-30 minute nap can help improve mood, alertness, and performance. Famous nappers include Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison and George W. Bush. 

Affirmation: I stay healthy with good sleep.

Coaching questions: Do you get an adequate amount of sleep? If not, what price do you pay for your sleep deprivation? What’s one thing you will do to improve your sleep?

Get Your Sleep!

A lot of people underestimate rest, especially sleeping and recovery time. Jason Day, Australian professional golfer.

Did you know that you have a brain-cleaning crew that works the night shift only? While you are sleeping, your brain’s glymnphatic system flushes cerebrospinal fluid through your gray matter to remove proteins that accumulate during the day.

If you deprive yourself of restorative sleep, waste begins to accumulate in the brain and causes a loss of neurological function. In the short term, this might mean poor memory or absent-mindedness. In the long term the trash buildup may be a contributing factor to dementia and Alzheimer’s. Sleep isn’t a luxury. 

Affirmation: I get good sleep.

Coaching questions: How much sleep do you get? How much do you need? What’s keeping you from getting the sleep you need for maximum health?