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Young happy couple sleeping in bedFinally the argument between my wife and I of who has “earned” the right to take a nap can be shelved, at least for a day. Today is the Festivals of Sleep Day.  We all know we should get more sleep-  between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. When we are sleep deprived, our beauty suffers, our mood stinks, more accidents occur, and we aren’t as disciplined.  By definition, today, we all have the right to sleep late, take a nap or retire for the night early.  And with more sleep, health benefits abound. Let’s examine:

Dark Circles

I think this point is rather obvious, but still worth pointing out. When we are overtired, it shows on our faces, especially around our eyes.  I have counseled countless patients about improving the dark circles under their eyes. I always inquire about the quality and quantity of their sleep when this request is made. While blepharoplasty surgery can certainly help reduce the appearance of these circles, extra sleep can dramatically improve these results.

Diet Troubles

When we lack sleep, our cravings for carbohydrates increases and our willpower falters. We want the sweets and we can’t resist the temptations as well when we’re tired. Especially this time of year, with all the New Year’s Resolutions newly committed to, sleep deprivation can quickly derail these well laid plans.

Don’t Be So Cranky

If you are anything like me, lacking a good night’s sleep puts me in a BAD mood. That sluggish feeling is just hard to shake. My tolerance of the little annoyances in life suffers when I am lacking sleep. Do yourself and those around you a favor and take a nap!

Danger, Danger

When we neglect our sleep, it can not only be concerning for our appearances but also for our health.  Our reaction time is slower, our ability to make complex decisions is decreased and our safety may be at risk. I remember reading a fact that likened driving while sleep deprived to driving under the influence of alcohol. This study went so far as to equate sleep deprivation with having a 0.1% blood alcohol level…well over the legal limit. Start your year off safely with a nice healthy nap!

Here are some quick tips to help you get the most out of your Festivals of Sleep Celebration.

1. Plan for that special sleep time.

Will you sleep late, take that afternoon snooze, sign off early for the night or enjoy a post-prandial  (after meal) nap? If your house is anything like mine, these things need to be coordinated with     the other members of your family. This is especially true if you anticipate some uninterrupted sleep.

2. Sleep solo or with a loved one?

You should decide who is going to join you in this “celebration” or if you will go it alone. Don’t get me wrong, I love to cuddle up next to my wife, but this is usually to watch one of our favorite TV shows.  But, when I am looking for a deep sleep or a truly restful experience, I like to sprawl out and touch nobody.  It has mainly to do with preoccupation of whether I am moving around too much for her, breathing too loudly for her or if I will disturb her slumber.  When I am worried, it makes it much more difficult to fall asleep.

3. Clear your mind

Which brings me to my next point: Try to RELAX and let your body and MIND drift off to sleep. This is not a time to be rehashing the holidays or planning for the upcoming week. Try to make your     mind blank and focus on your breathing. In college, Coach Holtz would conduct a relaxation session  the night before a game on the practice field. We would focus on our breathing and imagine     our heads being place “in” the turf, not on the turf. Use that imagery for your head “into” the bed. You may even add in the Lou Holtz lisp as you recite this to yourself, if that helps.

Celebrate!!!

I look forward to this Jan. 3rd to celebrate the Festivals of Sleep.  I can improve my looks, my health, my mood, ( and by default, my relationship with my family).  This day, I will withhold from joking with my wife, who preciously guards her sleep,  how she likes to take an “awake” (not a nap) and we can both enjoy our slumber.  That is…if we can get a babysitter to watch our young daughter.


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