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Make This the Year of Improved Sleep

“Scientists have discovered a revolutionary new treatment that makes you live longer. It enhances your memory, makes you more attractive. It keeps you slim and lowers food cravings. It protects you from cancer and dementia. It wards off colds and flu. It lowers your risk of heart attacks and stroke, not to mention diabetes. You’ll even feel happier, less depressed, and less anxious. Are you interested?” – Matthew Walker in Why We Sleep

Improved quality of sleep casts a wide net making other goals possible. Do you want to enhance your creativity, learn a new skill, or be less impatient with others in 2018? Create a sleep plan.

As a former member of the Sleep When You’re Dead Club. I grew up in the generation of No Doz and admiring people who appeared to need little or no sleep. To be fair, we didn’t know much about why we slept so we really didn’t know what we were missing. That era is over. Sleep research in the last 20 years has overturned that thinking.

We need to reprogram our mindset around the value of sleep, not just time in the rack, but restorative sleep. Improved self-awareness about our own sleep habits is key. I recently wrote an article about the layers of self-awareness. To really make a change, we need to know the impact of what we are doing now, care about it, and create strategies to support new habits. That means you have to really pay attention and avoid rationalizing what you are currently doing.

Meanwhile, I suggest moving toward a reward rather than trying to resist doing something else. Motivation generally improves if you see a payoff on the horizon. One way to jumpstart your enthusiasm for sleep is read Dr. Walker’s book Why We Sleep .This book is not only informative but engaging. It will make you realize that sleep is not only a must have but it’s actually really cool!

As we close out 2017 and begin to look at 2018, think about the steps you can take to improve your sleep quality. Like any other goal, you can’t do it all at once. Don’t be discouraged if you struggle. You will be in good company. The industrialized world stacks the deck against our physiological need to sleep. Nevertheless, massage your way toward improved sleep in 2018 and I suspect you will never look back!

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