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Sleep More…Worry Less…Improve Performance

Sleep, glorious sleep, where have the hours gone? American women are struggling to cope with a lack of sleep, which means under 7-hours daily. Some of you may be dreaming to actually get that much time in consecutive hours, hence the catnap or chunking shorter pieces together. Women’s lifestyles are regularly compromised due to a lack of sleep, and yet we keep going. Who hasn’t slogged through a day or a week for various reasons related to not getting enough hours of rest? Sometimes it’s not possible to complete everything we need to yet the hours that we most benefit from by recharging, sleep, fall victim to our choices. Not everyone is on call in an ER, but many of us have taken on this mantle of urgency and sleep deprivation as a badge of honor. It is not!

“Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.” ~ Alfred A. Montapert

Altering your sleep patterns may reduce anxiety according to researchers at SUNY Binghamton. Of 100 people polled, those who went to bed later and slept for shorter periods had the most severe symptoms of worry and negative thinking. Eighty percent of women say that when they experience sleepiness during the day they just accept it and keep going. However, in order to keep going, 65% are likely to use caffeinated beverages, with 37% of all women consuming three or more caffeinated beverages per day. More coffee = more issues in falling asleep.

Another culprit, although less often considered to be a factor is multitasking, much maligned but also viewed as a necessity in the modern world. The ability to do several things at once – even if it’s something as apparently simple as emailing and talking at the same time – is taken for granted. But the belief that engaging in several tasks at once means we are more productive is a myth. Instead of saving time, multitasking not only takes longer but also makes mistakes more likely.

Research has found that women who tend to multitask more during the day and therefore use more of their brain power, need more sleep. So even if they sleep more than men do, some women still might not be getting enough rest—and those who don’t, might feel the effects more acutely than their male counterparts. The suffering isn’t limited to mood. Insufficient sleep has been linked to serious health issues in women, such as depression and higher risk of stroke.

So, if the myth of greater productivity is multitasking, yet it depletes the brain more, requiring additional sleep, and caffeine is a short term solution to wakefulness yet cycles back to difficulty in falling asleep, are we forever damned? Perhaps not, but changing habits does require discipline and attention to our waking hours as much as the bedtime hour we assign nightly.

• Cut back on caffeine in ALL forms during the day • Have a consistent bedtime ©MWeisner2015

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