The Importance of Sleep

Well, it is March! Spring is in the air as I write this. The sun is shining and we have a 59 degree day. After the mess that has been in Illinois, I will take it! Being in the sunshine is self care in itself. There seems to be a bright future as we are moving forward and, I believe, out of the scariest part of this pandemic. I look forward to no masks and smiling faces, touching people and not being afraid, social contact, and just being. I think no matter who you are in this world, we have all felt the pain, some of us worse than others, but dealing with the anxiety and the like nonetheless. I am grateful for the hat I wear, as an educator. It forces me daily to look at what I am doing to care for myself, as well as to reevaluate different tools that may apply to what we share with you. 

Today, I want to focus on sleep and the importance of it. Why not - it's Brain Awareness Week. I know, I know, you know this. But, do you make sure that you make it a priority? There are so many things to put us in the mood to sleep, but do you take the time? Where are you sleeping? Are you comfortable? Are you warm?  Are you clean? Did you do something to wind down that did not involve a blue light (which is why you are staying awake most nights)? Did you put a diffuser on with an essential oil that can promote a calming atmosphere? Did you take a warm bath or have a cup of Roman Chamomile tea? Did you listen to classical music or read a book? Did you read a story to your daughter? These "tools" are all indicators to your brain that it is time to go to sleep. You can train your mind to calm and prepare to avoid the chatter that loudly increases in our heads when we hit the pillow.
 
Let's face it, it is typically the time when we think about everything. The would haves, should haves, could haves; thoughts will create your anxiety. Having a nighttime routine will greatly increase your chances of a restful sleep which will lead to more focus and concentration, more energy, a healthier immune system, healthier brain function, simply put, a healthier you! So very often, we do not think about the simplest parts of keeping ourselves healthy. We are bombarded with responsibilities that typically render us exhausted and spent by the end of the day. But, the doc and I always preach that if your cup is not full, you cannot fill someone else's cup. March 13, 2021 is World Sleep Day and it is so important that it received its own day! There are so many telltale signs that you are not getting enough sleep.We can see it in our faces, feel it in our energy levels, and it can make us become diseased. 
So, celebrate the day by sleeping in! Get some comfier pj's or sheets, reward yourself by taking care of yourself. Sleep is so important to your mental health. You must give your mind and body a rest, a rest that it needs.
 
--Jessica Ryan
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