Friday, May 5, 2017

#ISleepTo Shape the Youth of Tomorrow

I see it every day at work, students too tired to participate with their heads down on their desks even unable to function let alone string some sentences together. The early morning combined with a wild weekend can spell disaster for any teen. There's no worse feeling as a teacher when you jubilantly greet them at the door with a fervent GOOD MORNING! to be greeted by a dismissive grunt and look of disdain in their bloodshot eyes.

As a teacher, I have to be a leader and set the example so if I'm yawning and disengaged, my students are likely to follow suit. What happens when I don't get enough sleep? I end up with a classroom atmosphere that is boring and unproductive. I set the tone with my alertness and exuberance so if I am not firing on all cylinders, everything and everyone else suffers.

Studies show that teens need 8 to 10 hours of sleep to function at a high level and adults need at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep.  That means when it comes to healthy sleeping we need to be on the same page to be in sync. Sleep is fuel for the brain. It needs to rest so that the body feels refreshed and restored. For this reason, #ISleepTo be the best teacher I can be.

The benefits of a good night's sleep are not underrated. The CDC reports that people who suffer from sleep insufficiency are also more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity, as well as from cancer, increased mortality, and reduced quality of life and productivity.

When my sleep suffers it not only affects my students but my family as well. Ask any new parent what they miss most about their childless life and it is likely all about the sleep they used to get. No more sleeping in on weekends or mid-afternoon naps when there is so much laundry that needs to be done and a screaming baby that needs your attention every four hours if you are lucky.

As a father, sleep is an important part of not only physical well being but my mental health as well. The CDC also discovered that between 50-70 million US adults have sleep or wakefulness disorders so it is even more important as adults to get proper sleep and implement healthy sleeping habits.

When I'm tired and not myself, everything seems to pile up behind it and I become irritable and angry. That's when I take it out my frustrations on my spouse or my kids by yelling or getting short with them. Hindsight the following day is usually me making a promise to myself that I'm not going to do it again, but I do because while I am tired, there's no way to really know how ineffective my sleep habits have become. For this reason, #ISleepTo be the best father I can be.

Thanks to the people at Beautyrest, they have come up with a way to keep me honest. The Beautyrest Sleeptracker is a monitor that works with your existing Wi-Fi to connect with an app on your phone that monitors your sleep and reports back on how you can improve it. It comes with two sensors that you place under your mattress that report back to the "brain" of the unit which in turn sends information to your phone that is measurable.

The Sleeptracker monitor and app keep track of Restless Sleep, REM Sleep, and Deep-Sleep which lets you know what percentage of your night's slumber qualified for each. The idea is to take a look at your sleep patterns and based on your day's activity, make smart choices about how to maximize the best sleep for you. Just like diet and exercise, setting a sleep goal is just as important for our overall health and once you look at your personalized research, the Sleeptracker app can help you make better decisions about your quality of sleep.

You can also factor in workouts, amount of consumed caffeine, whether you had a pet in the bed, took medication, or screen time before bed. The screen issue is a big one for me as I usually watch TV right before bed. The app told me that blue-light radiating screens shouldn't be watched a good half hour before bedtime. What most people don't know is that the stimulating effect of the screen continues to suppress melatonin, the hormone that helps you regulate your sleep, for at least thirty minutes after you turn it off.  This makes sense as parents across the country watch TV, use the computer, or play on a tablet after the kids go to bed but we do it normally right before we head off to sleep.

What I like about the Beautyrest Sleeptracker monitor is that it isn't a wearable. I used to use a wearable to keep track of my sleep but if I took it off to take a shower or forgot it downstairs, I'd be less likely to bother because once I'm in my pajamas, it's all over.

When I'm tired, I just want to crash and with the Beautyrest Sleeptracker monitor it is always in my bed ready when I am to record and report. All I have to do is tell the monitor that I am going to bed and end recording when I wake up in the morning.

My wife and I have been using the Beautyrest Sleeptracker app for a month now and have been comparing notes on our quality of sleep. My snoring has a lot to do with her results unfortunately but it's cool to see how different our experience can be even though we are in the same bed and see how the apps insights can be modified to cater to our individual needs.

If you care about the quality of your sleep but don't want to rely on a wearable to do it, I suggest you try the Beautyrest Sleeptracker monitor and app and see how it can improve your quality of sleep. I did it not only for myself and my family, but more importantly America. Now, if only Beautyrest could cure my snoring.


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Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad and Beautyrest for this campaign in which I have been compensated.All opinions expressed are my own.

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