Tuesday, November 6, 2007

More on Sleep

Some months ago we did a series of blogs on sleep. It’s a topic so rich, you can hardly pick up a magazine or newspaper these days without reading about some other study or thoughts on the matter. And with clocks “falling” back this past weekend, I know many of us used that extra hour to catch up on some sleep.

Ralph Downey III, chief of sleep medicine at Loma Linda University in California (pictured right in an interview on campus) writes about sleep deprivation and its ill effects on Americans. He suggested in an article recently that it’s a good idea to use that hour to “pay off your sleep debt.” He describes sleep debt as the difference between our pure physical need for sleep and the actual amount of sleep we get. You know if you are among the sleep impoverished. But, he says, many are and don’t realize it.

We’ve written here before about the toll lack of sleep creates, including grumpiness. Did you know that more and more studies are demonstrating that sleep deprivation also contributes to obesity? The body loses its ability to metabolize accurately when there is chronic lack of sleep. Research has also uncovered a greater risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease among those who do not sleep well.

Developing healthy rituals during the day, and calming rituals at night can contribute to better sleep habits. Try a soothing bath with Nuwati Bath Salts or Bath Bags. I have also discovered that a foot massage early in the evening contributes greatly to relaxation and falling asleep more easily. I am truly enjoying Caren Foot Treatment. And it comes in delicious fragrances or fragrance free. Lately, I prefer the original Caren in blue packaging. If you are in town, stop by and try it. These lotions make for wonderful gifts, too, now that we (well, some of us) are kicking into holiday mode.

Dreams, too, continue to capture the imagination of writers. Robert Moss, author of “The Three ‘Only’ Things: Tapping the Power of Dreams, Coincidence & Imagination,” posits that dreams do provide us with material to sort through things. Using our dreams to overlay on the real day-to-day issues and questions we grapple with, he says, gives us yet another set of tools for solving problems and finding alternatives. He offers three ways to use our dreams. “Record your dreams,” he says. Take a few minutes to jot down key themes or images in the morning, or feelings and thoughts if you cannot actually remember your dreams. He also suggests finding a “dream friend.” This is someone who is open and who will consider working through the dream with you without imposing his or her own life onto the dream. Offering ways to consider the dream, though, is a great way for you both to bring the imagery to life. You can then listen to his or her dreams, too. Thirdly, Mr. Moss suggests taking action. Think of practical steps, he insists, on bringing your dreams to life, especially those that seem to be pointing in certain directions.

How are you sleeping lately? And do you remember your dreams? Share your thoughts about sleep and dreaming, along with helpful remedies for sleep difficulties here.

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