Working Healthy

Healthy Living: Sleep

It’s said we spend one third of our lives sleeping, but many of us never seem to get enough. If you’re having problems getting enough sleep or are having sleep difficulties, you probably don’t have enough energy to do your best job in the salon. Find out what you can do now to get more shut-eye.

Expert Opinion: Nail techs tend to work long hours with not many breaks, and working this way requires a well-rested mind and body to power through. According to Robert S. Rosenberg, author of Sleep Soundly Every Night, Feel Fantastic Every Day, sleeping seven to nine hours per night is optimal for most. “There are exceptions,” says Rosenberg. “However, most recent studies show that those who sleep fewer than seven hours or more than nine hours are subject to an increased incidence of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and earlier mortality.” Rosenberg explains that too little sleep can be manifested by fatigue, sleepiness, irritability and trouble concentrating, as well as increased motor vehicle and workplace accidents. Conversely, sleeping too much may indicate an underlying sleep disorder, and it may also be an early sign of mood disorders such as depression or SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
So is it normal to wake several times per night or should we be sleeping all the way through until we wake? And why is it so hard for some people to wake up in the morning while others bound right out of bed ready to take on the day? Rosenberg says it’s not unusual to awaken for brief periods during the night as we go from one sleep stage to the next. Also, as we age we have less deep sleep and thus are more easily awakened. As for those sleepyheads who routinely hit the snooze button and feel groggy all morning, they’re experiencing something called sleep inertia, and yes, it’s normal for some people. “In most cases, waking up is difficult for some people because either the quality or quantity of their preceding sleep has been poor, or they are simply prone to a longer period of sleep inertia,” says Rosenberg. “One recent study has shown that DSL (Dawn Simulating Alarm Clocks) that begin to emit light 30 minutes before the alarm goes off can help to avoid this.”
Rosenberg warns that trying to “bank” sleep — for example, sleeping more on weekends to make up for less sleep through the week — won’t work. “Most studies have shown that the majority of physiological damage produced by doing this chronically cannot be reversed,” Rosenberg says. “However, when sleep-deprived in the short-term, short naps of no more than 30 minutes can increase alertness by up to four hours.”
The following are Rosenberg’s suggestions for getting a solid night of good quality sleep:
> Turn off all blue light-emitting electronics 90 minutes before bed.
> Avoid all caffeine at least six to eight hours before bedtime.
> Keep your bedroom dark and at a comfortable temperature (65 to 70 degrees for most).
> Keep your pets out of the bed if you are having trouble sleeping.
> Expose yourself to bright sunlight as close to awakening as possible.
> Keep to a set sleep/wake schedule even on weekends.

Tech Tips:
I personally don’t get nearly enough sleep. I usually am home and in bed before 10:00 P.M., and wake up and start my morning with the kids around 6:30-7:30 A.M. I know nutrition and exercise affects sleep quality, and it’s super difficult to make time to eat with a busy salon schedule, but I’ve been forcing myself to take a few bites and get up and stretch and move between clients, and I feel a huge difference. I was a big caffeine (espresso) person, but I’ve found that eating healthier and at regular intervals and drinking lots of water actually helps me more than the coffee did, and I sleep much better.
Kathleen Shahan, Kat Shahan Nails, Wilmington, Del.

With three children 5 and under, it’s hard to get a good night’s sleep at the best of times, but add running a busy salon and designing after hours, and it only gets worse. Every now and then I have one of those nights where I go to bed early and that usually gets me energized. My clients are always very easily pleased and let me have full creative control, so if I’m feeling tired, I usually attempt something a little more basic as far as technique, such as swapping hand-painted art for stamping, etc. As long as my clients are happy with their nails, everybody wins.
Simone Gilbert,
Urban Bliss Beauty Therapy, Melbourne, Australia

Suggested Reading:

Sleep Soundly Every Night, Feel Fantastic Every Day
Board-certified in Sleep Medicine, Dr. Robert S. Rosenberg has written an indispensable guide to getting high-quality shut-eye every night. Dr. Rosenberg’s book helps identify the issues that may be causing you sleeping issues and provides targeted solutions to help you begin waking up refreshed and rested every morning.

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