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Sleep is the new superpower

Gone are the days of employees being congratulated for working 24/7. Instead, companies are jumping on the sleep-benefits trend. Take Google, Procter & Gamble, Facebook, the University of Michigan and Huffington Post, who all now provide sleep pods or nap rooms as a workplace perk to keep staff members well rested.

Huffington Post Founder Arianna Huffington is so adamant about sleep deprivation on the job she was recently heard stating, “It’s the mental equivalent of congratulating someone for coming to work drunk!” To take it a step further, when people approach Huffington with, “I’ve been working around the clock,” she often responds with a curt response of, “That’s so sad. Why are you so disorganized and managing your life that way?”

Besides spreading the sleep gospel on her own site along with a new online course on Oprah.com, Huffington spearheads a campaign about adding a “good sound sleep” as a daily task on your calendar. It’s equivalent to gifting yourself (or guests) with a comfortable bed and bedding, a quiet dark room, chamomile tea, an inviting bath offering and the newest amenity — sniff boxes or a drop of sage and lavender oil to assist guests in enabling “the drift-off.”

Many hotels have gone to extensive lengths to ensure an ideal sleep — blackout shades, soundproof windows, bedside noise machines, foam cushioning, soft sheets, a pillow menu and linen sprays.

Since its inception more than three decades ago, the field of sleep medicine has grown, and the demand for sleep services is bigger than ever. Researchers have found connections between poor sleep and heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, poor memory, weight gain and even a shortened lifespan. According to a study published by the American Psychological Association, sleep has been proven to be the single most important factor in predicting longevity.

And yes, great sleep apps (WakeMate, Zeo, Lark and SleepBot) exist. Most measure your sleep duration, track movements and record any sounds you make. At least one of the apps, SleepBot, allows you to use your sleep data to determine the best time to wake you up.

It’s a great time of year to evaluate how you can prioritize sleep in your daily routine. Something may need to go, but it’s the best gift to yourself. Will you be following suit, and if so, how many hours a night will you strive for?

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