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Celebrate Sleep Awareness Week By Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

april 25 sleep late graphicARE YOU AWARE of your sleeping patterns? Do you get a good night’s sleep? Is the sleep you’re getting restful? If the amount and quality of your sleep is the last thing on your mind, you should know — it’s a lot more important to your overall health than you think.

Happily, there’s Sleep Awareness Week to help you get focused. This year, Sleep Awareness Week falls between April 23rd and April 29th — seven whole days of celebrating sleep and the vital role it plays in your life and in the lives of your loved ones.

Sleep helps your body heal. It improves learning and helps sharpen problem-solving skills. Sleep helps keep your emotions on an even keel and drives away depression. It lowers your risk of heart disease and cancer, and may even help you manage your weight more efficiently. If you’re not taking time out every day to catch enough Zs, celebrating Sleep Awareness Week is a great place to begin.

Keep a Dream Journal

man with cloud head dreamDo you remember your dreams? The science of dream interpretation is a fascinating, yet murky area of known versus unknown. Nobody knows for certain why we dream, but studies do show that people who are purposely deprived of dreams show increases in anxiety and depression, and may even begin to gain weight.

It appears that dreams exist for a reason, though no one is sure exactly why. One theory guesses that it’s during our dreams that our subconscious seeks to reason out problems and make sense of life. Dreams may also serve to reinforce memory and help us work through difficult emotions.

If you’ve never done so before, Sleep Awareness Week is a perfect time to begin keeping a dream journal. To do so successfully, the experts at Dreamstudies.org make several recommendations:

    • Purchase a journal specifically for the purpose. Choose something appropriate that has meaning for you and that you’ll enjoy working in each day.
    • Keep your journal and pen bedside and record your dreams and impressions first thing upon waking.
    • Don’t stress over the activity or try to force yourself to dream something worthy of writing down. And if you can’t remember full dreams upon waking, record impressions instead — colors, sounds and feelings are all important.
    • Make journaling a habit. Once you decide to engage, set aside time each day to indulge.
    • Don’t be a harsh critic of what you find. Allow your dreams to come and go peacefully and name each one to help you focus on the overall theme.
Meditate Before Bed

Meditation is a proven method of relaxation. If you haven’t tried it already, celebrate Sleep Awareness Week by setting aside a half hour before bed to focus your thoughts inward. Find a quiet, comfortable space and listen to a tape or come up with a mantra all your own.

Meditation reduces stress, improves focus, increases happiness and boosts your overall quality of life. Toss in getting enough sleep every night and you have the perfect cocktail for successful living.

Give Yourself Permission to Sleep Late

Perhaps the best way to celebrate Sleep Awareness Week is to simply sleep late. In order to do this, however, you must first give yourself permission to do so. Often, we find ourselves waking up before the alarm out of guilt or a misguided sense of responsibility. Sleeping in on occasion doesn’t make you lazy. In fact, sleeping long hours once in a while can be quite beneficial to your health. As long as you’re not ignoring important responsibilities, you’re not hurting anybody.

So go on — indulge the urge to celebrate this Sleep Awareness Week by getting a good night’s sleep and sleeping as much as possible.

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