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The main purpose of Daylight Savings Time is to allow one to make the most use of day sunlight hours. It is said to be used in over 70 countries worldwide; however, the beginning and end dates differ. While a one-hour shift may not appear to be significant, the 60-minute jump forward or backward has been associated with sleep disturbances, mental and cognitive disturbances, and health issues. According to the CDC those 18-60 years of age need 7 plus hours of sleep each night, yet one-third of adult Americans report they do not meet this minimum. Not having adequate sleep can negatively impact one’s ability to complete job tasks proficiently. How does one fall asleep when counting sheep did not work?
Most of us know achieving a routine toward regular bedtimes and reducing or removing screen time prior to bed is beneficial. However, this can be easier said than done for some. If you use your phone as your alarm clock, try docking it to charge across the room so you are less inclined to pick it up to check social media or news. Try setting your “do not disturb” settings to limit your bombardment of notifications. If you have significant challenges falling asleep, or staying asleep, I advise you contact your physician. There are many common medications that have potential sleep related side effects. Additionally, one may not be aware of the amount of caffeine consumption throughout the day that can also negatively effect sleep.
There is a plethora of sleep-inducing products on the market from medications, homeopathic remedies, technology-related tools, and various other items claiming research backed concepts. The verdict for each often remains unclear regarding the efficacy, and it is commonly left to personal trials.
Are you one who can’t sleep without having a blanket covering you? Perhaps a weighted blanket can swaddle you into slumber. This concept takes emulates a technique called deep pressure stimulation, which involves applying pressure to trigger the sympathetic nervous system and induce relaxation. Supposedly having 7 to 12 percent of your body weight in pellets held within the blanket on top of you increases serotonin and decreases cortisol. Weighted items are not a novel concept. Weighted vests and lap pads have been on the market for years and often used for those with autism. Doing an Internet search identifies several purchasing options. One can also find resources for DIY kits and patterns. For those of you, who like to sleep with a pillow over your head, perhaps you will enjoy the Sleep Crown Pillow. Lightly weighted, this pillow has a unique shape to cover your head while allowing you to breathe easy. It will muffle ambient noise, reduce light to your eyes, and provide soft pressure to your head. For those of you with limited motion, please use weighted items with great care in the event movement during sleep causes them to shift and impede easy breathing.
In regard to technology, there is a plethora of devices simulating nature sounds, white noise, or noise canceling technology reported to enhance sleep. Two tools that have been marketed and reviewed in the news recently have been the Calm app for iOS and Android and the Bose Noise-Masking Sleepbuds. Calm provides guided meditations, bedtime stories, video lessons for gentle stretching and mindful movement, and music options. The app offers a free trial or lite version and in-app premium purchases. The Bose sleepbuds use pre-loaded, soothing masking sounds to cover up unwanted nighttime noises.
Whether you elect to use technology-based tools to track your sleep patterns, such as the many app options for iOS and Android, or paper and pen recording options, I encourage you to track your sleep patterns. If you experience greater or less ease of going to sleep and staying asleep, then think about the precursors for what you ate, drank, and did prior to bed. Identifying patterns can help you to select more effective bedtime routines. What methods have you tried to help you get a goodnight sleep?