Dream On

Author: Kirsten K., Wellness

Dream On 1There are few things in life more swoon-worthy—literally—than a full night of delicious sleep. Waking up naturally before my alarm goes off or on a weekend morning with no agenda gives me a deep sense of well-being. One of my least favorite sayings is: “You can sleep when you’re dead.” No, I can sleep when I’m tired, thank you very much. I’ve always thought it was counterintuitive to ignore your body when it’s asking for rest, and now there’s abundant evidence to back me up.

For a documentary on sleep, the film Sleepless in America from National Geographic Channel is a real eye-opener. Made in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health, the movie lays out the alarming facts: lack of sleep is the primary contributing factor in many automobile and occupational accidents and can dramatically increase a person’s risk of developing obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. People seem to view sleep as a luxury, rather than a necessity, and even take pride in their ability to burn the candle at both ends, but the consequences of sleep deprivation to our health and safety—and the safety of others—are dire.

Dream On 2However, I’ll leave it to the film to scare the pajamas off you. We Society members like to write about things that make us swoon, so let’s flip the script. Getting the proper amount of sleep each night is worthy of our notice because it:*

  • helps you to stay alert during the day so that work is more fulfilling and fun, leading to that coveted promotion.
  • improves memory and the ability to process and retain new information, making you a more interesting person.
  • strengthens your immune system, so you can turn sick days into play days and potentially add years to your life.
  • allows your body to restore, repair, and rejuvenate, transforming you into a sleeping beauty (or a handsome hibernator).
  • makes you more pleasant to be around, attracting friends and lovers.
  • feels wonderful—do you need another reason?
Dream On 3

Many historians believe that, before electric lighting, people used to sleep in two phases of 4-5 hours (first sleep and second sleep) separated by a short interval of wakefulness (the watch).

Of course, I know that there are people who work multiple jobs or have life circumstances that prevent them from getting the sleep they need, but they are probably not reading this blog (and if they are—stop and go to bed!). Those people should check out this short TED talk by Kirk Parsley, a doctor, former Navy SEAL, and father of three who discusses the importance of sleep and how to make it a priority in your life.

There are also people who want to sleep, but have trouble falling or staying asleep. Sleepless in America states that 70 million Americans suffer from some form of insomnia. According to the film, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) involves four basic steps:

  1. Reduce your time in bed.
  2. Get up at the same time every day (no matter how much you slept the night before).
  3. Don’t get in bed unless you’re sleepy.
  4. Don’t stay in bed unless you’re asleep.

By following these steps (in conjunction with medication, when necessary), many insomnia sufferers are able to fall and stay asleep on a regular basis, allowing them to get the rest they need.** Given the claim by some fitness and nutrition experts that proper sleep is more important than food and exercise to a person’s overall health and well-being, insomnia isn’t something that can be ignored.

If time is money, you can’t afford to miss this movie, because you can shortchange sleep, but you’ll pay one way or another in loss of productivity, health, and quality of life. Sleep is free, but it yields both short- and long-term dividends, so write yourself a check for eight hours a night—EVERY night—and dream on.

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Stuff Worthy Of Our Notice™ in this post:

Sleepless in America


You can purchase the DVD of Sleepless in America in the National Geographic store or watch the full-length documentary online at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. If you’re short on time, have a look at this “cheat sheet.”

*These claims have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, but they have been validated by the Fabulous Day Association (aka “me”).

**For more Sleep Tips for Insomnia Sufferers, visit the National Sleep Foundation.

Throw In the Towel

Author: Kirsten K., Wellness
Throw in the Towel 1

This little black towel is the must-have accessory of the season.

A few months ago, I was purchasing a table from Brookstone online when I saw that I could get free shipping by adding a small item to my order. I searched the site for items under $20 and came across the Mission EnduraCool™ Instant Cooling Towel. Since I am partial to the chill temps of fall and winter (SoCal-style) and suffer through the heat of summer, I threw this towel in the cart. It was almost an afterthought, but in the months since I received my order, I have used the table exactly twice, while this towel has become an indispensable accessory.

There are no chemicals, cooling packs, or technological gadgetry involved. The towel is made from polyester and nylon using a proprietary process that allows the fabric to absorb and trap moisture. When you soak it in water, wring it out, then snap it between your hands, air circulates through the fabric, cooling the towel to 30 degrees below body temperature. You can drape it around the neck, wrap it about the head, or put it on any overheated area of the body for instant relief. After using it for the first time, I informed my friends and family that they should expect to see this towel hanging around my neck until November.

Throw in the Towel 2The company’s website states that the fabric will stay cool for up to two hours when wet, but I’ve used the towel on my nightly walk and found the next morning that it’s still cool and slightly damp. My sister recently took one with her on a trip to the desert and said that it dried out fairly quickly in the arid climate, so its staying power will depend on the environment. If the towel starts to lose its cooling properties, simply wet it again and snap it to reactivate. It’s reusable and machine washable, so I predict that this towel will see me through several summers—and workouts.

If the summer heat literally makes you swoon, chill out! The next time you’re loading up your shopping cart, make sure to throw in the towel and you’ll play it cool all season long.

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Stuff Worthy Of Our Notice™ in this post:

Mission EnduraCool™ Instant Cooling Towel


The Mission EnduraCool™ Instant Cooling Towel comes in a range of colors and can be purchased at Brookstone, most sporting goods stores, and a variety of retailers.