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  • Writer's pictureJinks Crow

A Crash Course in Self-Care: Sleep

Sleep your way to the top of a healthy lifestyle

September is Self-Care Awareness Month. If you ask attorneys about their self-care practices, responses will likely fall somewhere between two categories: those who are highly disciplined about self-care and those who don’t have time or don’t acknowledge its worth. Regardless of opinions, research has repeatedly proven the value of even a moderate amount of self-care in keeping personal burnout and professional fatigue at bay.

Over the next few weeks, we will give you a Crash Course in Self-Care. This week, we focus on the importance of sleep.

If you were to ask people whether sleep is important, everyone would say yes. While we all know we need to sleep, few prioritize it. Dr. Michael Roizen, chief wellness officer of the Cleveland Clinic, made it clear: "Sleep is the most underrated health habit."

Sleep helps maintain cognitive skills, such as attention, learning, and memory, such that poor sleep can make it much more difficult to cope with even relatively minor stressors and can even impact our ability to perceive the world accurately.

Sleep is closely connected to mental and emotional health and has demonstrated links to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and other conditions. While research is ongoing to better understand the connections between mental health and sleep, the evidence to date points to a bidirectional relationship. Mental health disorders tend to make it harder to sleep well. At the same time, poor sleep, including insomnia, can contribute to initiating and worsening mental health problems.

Both sleep and mental health are complex issues affected by many factors, but, given their close association, there is strong reason to believe that improving sleep can benefit mental health and can be a component of treating many psychiatric disorders.

So, as we celebrate healthy habits and self-care in September, make a conscious effort to listen to your body and mind and set your sleep times accordingly. You’ll likely have to modify occasionally, but setting this goal will, at a minimum, put some self-care on your to-do list. More likely than not, you can sleep your way to the top of a healthy lifestyle.


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