THE STRAIGHT UP
Catching Some Why Are We So Anti-Sleep?
of empathy for others compared to those who slept poorly. Basically, we understand each other better when we get enough sleep. Regardless of howmuch sleep you need, I believe we can all afford to sleep better at night. I’ve found that getting away from devices before bed is a big help. The blue light from screens makes it harder to fall asleep and a constant stream of news or social media keeps our brains active when we should be winding down for bed. Plus, it’s easy for time to slip away when you are focused on your TV or phone. When I’m in bed, my phone doesn’t come with me. I turn my phone on do not disturb mode and leave it in the living room. I’ll deal with any missed messages in the morning. I might not fall asleep the moment my head hits the pillow, but that just means I have time to read a real book for a while. I enjoy some of the best sleep after reading, and I wake up feeling refreshed in the morning. If you’re a follower of the “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” philosophy, more power to you. But to my fellow sleep enthusiasts, I say don’t be afraid to admit you love sleep. Buster and I both support your decision to catch some Z’s.
planet when I say I sleep for eight hours. But I feel so much better when I sleep! It keeps me young, healthy, and happy. When it comes to sleep, my partner in crime is Buster. He loves to sleep and he especially loves to go to bed early. His last walk of the day is at 7:30 p.m. and when we get back inside, he runs straight for the bed, ready to call it a night. He and I are on the same schedule. My husband, on the other hand, is not an early sleeper. He’s more of a night owl, but he’s very supportive of my sleep schedule. He’ll even remind me to get to bed on time, which I certainly appreciate. Though, his reminders may be partially self-preservation. As I said, I get cranky and irritable when I don’t sleep. I’m not saying everyone has to keep second- grader hours. Honestly, eight hours of sleep isn’t mandatory for everyone, either.We all have a “sweet spot” for the amount of sleep our body needs.When we find that spot, it can do wonders for our health. As Dr. Michael Twery, a sleep expert at the National Institute of Health, says, “Sleep affects almost every tissue in our bodies. It affects growth and stress hormones, our immune system, appetite, breathing, blood pressure, and cardiovascular health.” Good sleep is also important in maintaining good relationships. A study published in the European Journal of Neuroscience found that those who get quality sleep have higher levels
I have never understood the phrase “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” It implies that sleep is something we can put off in favor of “more important” things. Our society is so obsessed with being productive that we’ve decided it’s lazy to be still for eight hours, despite the fact that we literally need sleep to stay healthy!Well, I’m here to stake my claim on the wonders of sleep. the comfy sheets, and drifting off to sleep. Personally, I can’t go around missing out on sleep. My husband can confirm that I get grumpy and unproductive without my eight hours. About a year ago, I decided I would make sleep a priority. I didn’t like feeling tired all the time, and I really didn’t like feeling grumpy because I was tired. The only solution was to keep second-grader hours and give myself a bedtime. If I’m getting up at 5 a.m. to work out, I need to be in bed by 9 p.m. in order to get those wonderful eight hours. There are few greater pleasures in life than getting in a warm bed, snuggling up in Going to bed at 9 p.m. as an adult sounds crazy, I know. People look at me like I’m from another “PEOPLE LOOK AT ME LIKE I’M FROM ANOTHER PLANET WHEN I SAY I SLEEP FOR EIGHT HOURS.”
–Dr. Leslie Pitner
Smile big. Smile often. • 803-781-5225www.drpitner.com
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