Getting a Good Night’s Sleep?
Women in the U.S. are working longer hours and they’re paying for it with less sleep according to the American Time Use Survey by the Labor Department released in June.
You might think that burning the midnight oil will help you get ahead, but sleep is essential if you want to bring you A-game. If you’re reading this, that’s probably you! Chronic sleep deprivation affects “hundreds of genes, including some that influence inflammation, immunity and how we respond to stress,” says Dustin Nabhan, Vice President of Health and Performance at Canyon Ranch. “The rapid-eye momentum stage of sleep (REM) is especially important for memory. Dreaming alone may offer a crucial period for the brain to process problems and come up with solutions.”
Sleep experts say that not enough sleep can also lead to weight gain, depression, and impaired cognitive skills including memory and reasoning. It can also increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Proper sleep has many other benefits. It helps with pain management and managing feelings like anger and sadness. It affects the way you look by boosting the production of collagen allowing for skin repair and cell renewal. It can even reduce breakouts according to a study of women in their 30s and 40s by the University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland.
To top all this off, sleeping well can help you live longer. That’s right. Harvard School of Public Health research found daily snoozes can reduce the risk of heart disease by as much as 30 percent. “Nighttime sleep and naps both reduce stress, which may be a reason that sleep appears to boost longevity,” adds Nabhan.
What’s considered a good night’s sleep? Seven to nine hours a night is optimal, though sleep needs may vary, according to the experts at Canyon Ranch. We know it’s not easy for working women to rise in their careers – often while raising children and being involved with friends and community—and also get this much sleep. But we’ve all heard the reminders about self-care. This is such a hot issue that Canyon Ranch is dedicating a five-night program to it. The Canyon Ranch Immersion™ Mastering Sleep retreat, led by renown sleep expert Dr. Michael Grandner, includes a personal sleep analysis, insight into your sleeping patterns, and skills to recharge your brain and body.
Experts say the more anxious we are about falling or staying asleep, the harder it can be to settle in and nod off. Sometimes just shifting your focus toward allowing yourself to relax, instead of actively trying to sleep, is enough to get you the rest you need.
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Tips to get a good night’s sleep:
1. If you haven’t drifted off in 20 minutes, get out of bed and do something peaceful and relaxing, such as reading with a soft light, gentle yoga, meditation, or mindful breathing.
2. Around bedtime, avoid exposure to bright lights such as computer monitors and TVs which can activate the brain.
3. Exercise. Oregon State University researchers found that people who exercise 150 minutes a week improve their sleep quality by 65 percent.
4. Exercise at least three hours before you turn in because your body finds it easier to fall asleep when it’s cooler.
5. Replace a lumpy mattress.
6. Avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages before bedtime.
7. Dim the lights a few hours before bed.
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