Tuesday, May 5, 2015

6: Discover the Power of Sleep - It's Essential!

The Dire Consequences of Insufficient Sleep
Sleep is an important key to health, wellness, cell growth, memory formation, mental agility, physical performance, and peace of mind. You name it and sleep can improve it. Insufficient sleep can have serious and sometimes fatal consequences for themselves and others around them. For example, an estimated 20% of vehicle crashes are linked to drowsy driving.

The average amount of time a college student needs to sleep each night.
-          Dr. James Maas

Short sleep duration is associated with various adverse health effects (e.g., cardiovascular disease or obesity), decreased workplace and public safety, and impaired job performance. Being drowsy during a job interview will usually result in a short interview. And, of course, appearing drowsy during a conference with a prospective client, or at a networking event, can easily convey the wrong impression concerning you and your abilities.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that healthy adults sleep 7–9 hours per day. (For college students the recommended average is 9 hours 15 minutes.)
Yet, 30% of civilian employed U.S. adults (approximately 40.6 million workers) reported an average sleep duration of less than or equal to only 6 hours per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
To manage all your time better, get more sleep. You will become more productive, not less, with a greater amount of sleep.
More sleep will also lead to you being nicer, more attractive, and generally more awesome. You'll even get more dates!
Advice from Your Fellow Students 
Don’t believe me?  Here’s some advice from your fellow students about getting enough sleep:
  • “While it may sound self-explanatory, in our freshman year it took some of us some time to realize that he or she needed to get a good night’s sleep. Once one’s sleep each night increased, so did one’s grade point average.”
  • “Regardless of how much you might personally need, you will have a hard time concentrating in class – and learning – if you are drowsy.  Also, your ability to retain facts in memory is greatly enhanced when you get enough sleep.”
  • “If you get plenty of rest, you will have more energy to make it to every class on time, and to do all of the readings and assignments.”
Five Steps to Sleep Fitness
(from “7 Ways to Improve Your Sleep Tonight” by Andi@Zeo, http://www.myzeo.com/sleep/knowledge-center/articles/7-ways-improve-sleep-tonight)
  1. Skip the caffeine. You think you can’t feel it? Think you can fall asleep just fine at night after that afternoon caffeinated soda? Think again. Caffeine taken six hours before bedtime was as disruptive or more so than caffeine taken 3 hours before bedtime. Especially compared to no caffeine at all.
  2. Quit drinking after dinner. There’s a reason why your doc says not to have more than two drinks a day. This stuff really screws you up on many levels, and your sleep, as well as your liver, takes a big hit.
  3. Get moving. You don’t need to run a marathon, but you can’t just sit there all day and then expect to have good night’s sleep. Your body was made for movement and deep sleep gets a boost from daily moderate exercise.
  4. Dim the lights at night. Light has the biggest impact on our circadian rhythm, far more so than food or social ques. So do yourself a favor and dim the brightness on the TV. If you truly must work after dinner, dim the screen on your computer or laptop to block out blue light, as that type of light can keep you awake longer than yellow light. Prevent potential wake ups during the night by using an eye mask to block out unwanted light .  Or block “glowing” lights on your devices by turning them away from you or with masking tape and sticky notes.
  5. Keep cool. Body temperature and room temperature both help us fall asleep, stay asleep, and get more restorative sleep. Keep your bedroom between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit for the best sleep results.
Your Assignment: Learn More About the Importance of Sleep
Watch the TED Talks video “Arianna Huffington: How to succeed? Get more sleep” http://www.ted.com/talks/arianna_huffington_how_to_succeed_get_more_sleep.html (4:11).
Next, watch the Dr. James Maas video on “The Power of Sleep” (titled “Dr. James Maas at The UP Experience 2010” on YouTube.com), located at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxEJTNEtIKY (27:29)
And ... Record Your Sleep Habits in Your Journal
For the next seven nights, write down each morning in your journal how much sleep you obtained. Over these seven nights, see if you can boost your average sleep time, compared to your estimate of your sleep during the prior week, by at least one hour.
Here’s a great tip … to remind yourself to get to bed earlier, set a “bedtime alarm” on your smart phone, thirty minutes in advance of your planned bedtime.
Then, at the end of each day, write down in your journal how you felt during the day. Were you drowsy or awake, engaged in classes or not, energetic or not, able to think clearly or not, etc.? To remind yourself to write down your journal entry, schedule a reminder on your smart phone for the next seven evenings.
Lastly, don’t give up. The full power of these exercises is not felt until you have actually gone to bed an hour earlier for seven straight nights. Persevere, and discover the power of sleep.

Dr. Ron A. Rhoades is an Asst. Professor of Finance at Western Kentucky University's Gordon Ford College of Business, where he chairs the (B.S. Finance) Financial Planning Program. An innovative, passionate teacher, he is the author of Choose to Succeed in College and in Life: Continously Improve, Persevere, and Enjoy the Journey (2014)from which many of these blog posts are derived.

Dr. Rhoades also serves as a consultant to the Garrett Planning Network, a nationwide network of independent, Fee-Only financial planners making competent, objective financial advice accessible to all people. He is the author of several books, dozens of articles, and he is a frequent speaker at financial planning and investments conferences. He is the recipient of many awards for his advocacy on behalf of the fiduciary standard. Dr. Rhoades is also a member of The Florida Bar, and he practices estate planning and transfer taxation for select current clients.

Dr. Rhoades and his wife, Cathy, reside in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

To contact Dr. Rhoades, please e-mail: WKUBear@gmail.com.

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