School is starting, but that doesn’t mean that you should stop sleeping. After another sleepless night caused by her snoring spouse, Nancy H. Rothstein, MBA, The Sleep Ambassador® and Director of Circadian Corporate Sleep Programs began to investigate the benefits of getting your sleep and what she found amazed her. Ever since, she has dedicated her life to changing America’s sleeping perspective and teaching sleeping strategies as a corporate sleep consultant.
As the Sleep Ambassador®, Nancy raises awareness about optimizing sleep by lecturing at universities, authoring her book My Daddy Snores, growing her website, creating an NYU online course on sleep, and speaking on radio talk shows. In addition, Nancy’s years of experience in the corporate sphere and the completion of her MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business enable her to teach the value of sleep to Fortune 500 companies. She emphasizes that good sleep creates better employees and helps increase a business’s productivity and profitability. Nancy believes that having employees receive sleep education is a huge asset because “Even if you have a fabulous skillset, and great training and development, if you’re sleep deprived it’s all compromised.”
Although Nancy speaks to audiences of all ages, the core message remains the same: sleep is critically important. “We are like cities that never sleep inside,” Nancy says, “Life is a 24-hour operation and sleep sets the foundation for how you function during the waking hours.” During sleep, our body processes nutrients, restores and rejuvenates itself, encodes memories, and cleanses the brain. “If you have chronic sleep deprivation, it’s like having a dirty kitchen for a month and all kinds of stuff builds up that shouldn’t be there.”
Nancy recognizes the different challenges of getting good sleep for high school and college students. College students for example often fail to dedicate their newfound freedom to getting enough sleep. Between classes, student clubs, and jobs, students rarely leave enough time to get a good night’s rest.
For all the high school students who feel like it is particularly painful to get up early for school, you’re probably right. The body practices a circadian rhythm that dictates the optimal time for the body to fall asleep and to wake up. The circadian rhythm changes during your lifetime. For high school students, the clock shifts, so that their bodies are more suited to staying up and getting up later. Nancy says, “Even a half an hour of school start time shows an increase in SAT scores, a decrease in bullying, and a decrease in depression.” However that doesn’t mean that sleeping in until noon on the weekends is good for you either. “What the body clock actual likes is consistency. In the best of all worlds, you’d get up and go to bed at the same time everyday.” Here’s Nancy’s five pieces of advice for students of all ages!
- Make and keep sleep as a priority. Giving yourself the amount of sleep your body needs makes it easier to do and enjoy every other activity on a college student’s busy schedule!
- Create the ideal sleeping environment. Whether your roommate is snoring or your dorm is throwing a party, it’s tough to control your sleeping environment, particularly in college. Nancy suggests keeping your environment as quiet, cool, dark, and uncluttered as possible. These qualities help bring a mind and body to rest.
- Prepare for sleep. Nancy advises setting an alarm for an hour before you go to bed so that you are reminded to transition into peace. Find a good place to stop working, read a book, or take a shower. This time allows your body to relax and enter a state serenity.
- Tune out from tech. Unplugging before bed is particularly important for students today. The blue light emitted by screens keeps the mind awake, so it’s a good idea to unplug an hour before sleep. Charging devices away from your bed also takes away the ability to check your phone during the night or while you fall asleep.
- Keep bed a place for sleep. Try to keep schoolwork out of it. In the morning, Nancy recommends waking up as soon as the alarm goes off and making your bed. That way you have finished your task of sleeping and can start your day with an activity completed, making it easier to keep from returning to sleep.
Nancy believes that more sleep does not detract from life, but only enhances it. That’s why it is essential for us to prioritize our sleep. As Nancy reminds us, “No one can sleep for you, but you!”
Follow Nancy’s work on her website: www.TheSleepAmbassador.com
Interested in having Nancy come speak at your school or company? Find her information here: http://www.circadian.com/solutions-services/corporate-sleep-programs.html
BONUS: Nancy recommends this TedMed Talk on sleep by Jeff Iliff on the benefits of sleep: One More Reason To Get A Good Night’s Sleep
Contributor: Rachel Savage