The Power of Sleep

I remember a time when I felt invincible. I was much younger. Then I could party late and rise early and still function…but little did I know the price I paid for such recklessness. Sleep is not a commodity to be squandered or taken lightly. It is a time of cell restoration as well as preparation for the day ahead. Those of us who have a troubled relationship with this thing call sleep know it value all too well.

As a merchandising rep, your sleep is important in allowing you to do your job well, at peak performance, and with a cheerful attitude. We value these attributes so highly, we want to help you be at your best. Sleep is not a commodity to be squandered or taken lightly, and this is our effort to help our sleepless friends improve their situations.

Of course, the fundamentals apply. The Sleep Foundation suggests reserving your bedroom as hallowed ground for sleep. When you watch television or study or chat away the hours in your bedroom, your brain may not recognize your bed as a place where sleep is supposed to occur. Keeping a regular schedule helps. You can train your brain to go to sleep at (or around) a certain hour. Bedtime rituals help. When you do certain things in a certain order prior to going to bed, you signal your brain that it’s time to start shutting down.

Observe all the caveats. Sleep in a darkened room. Avoid late consumption of caffeinated beverages. Reduce bedtime alcohol. Let your food digest before bedtime. Avoid stimulating conversation when you’re trying to shut your brain down. These are basic.

What happens when your brain refuses to take the hint?

  • Try to relax. Control your breathing. Think of black velvet. Practice muscle relaxation.
  • Get up rather than stew. Do one thing. Try again.

Keeping a sleep diary helps. It not only helps you recognize patterns in your sleep or sleeplessness, it serves as a way to look back and recall what you did before bedtime. What made a difference, What hurt or what helped? If you see a specialist, it will help you receive better treatment. The University of Southern California offers a form to help you track your sleep. It is a great first step in assessing your situation.

As a last resort, consult your doctor. Your brain sends out a signal to get busy (adrenaline) and it switches gears into reverse to send out a quietening signal (noradrenaline). Sometimes your brain just gets out of whack. A chemical imbalance can be remedied. If your brain is taking up its sleep neurotransmitters too soon, it can be given something to slow down that process.

Should you take sleeping pills? I’m not a fan. As a nighttime wanderer from the age of four, I can tell you that it’s far better to address the problem than to try and medicate it away. When I don’t sleep I’m usually upset about something, and figuring it out is better than any forced slumber. It deals with the problem once and for all. The bottom line is simple. Sleep. You need it to do your best.

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