You might say that I’m a closet napper. Whenever the subject comes up in conversation, I’m convinced by the reactions I get that needing more rest makes people feel like grandpa dozing in his rocker. Sure, energy is less as you age, but getting enough sleep is important for everyone. And getting enough right now will do wonders in helping you deal with the potential stresses of this holiday month. We’d all be better able to cope with the adversities in our lives if we just spent more time lying down. 
      Bodies repair themselves when they’re sleeping, so it’s especially important during flu season to pamper your immune system. My own body screams loud and clear when I’m tired. Case in point: this photo of me catching up on on an early morning ferry ride (I live on an island). My own little clinical trials over the years prove that the benefits of this mind-altering “drug” called sleep are dramatic. Basically, I see the world differently when I’m rested, as if the glass is now half full instead of …… well, you know. First thing I notice: Sense of humor returns, and that’s a big one. I make much better decisions, with creative solutions spontaneously popping into my head. And I feel calmer and not as impatient with a certain man I live with, saving the high price of marriage counseling. In other words, I’m just nicer to be around. Even I don’t mind me. The best perk of all is looking younger. Those furrowed brows and dark circles can add years to your appearance. 
  
      Experts say fatigue is epidemic… with most of us going through our days rather zombie-like, or as the pros put it, “chronically sleep deprived”. Surprisingly, a huge number of car accidents are caused by fatigue. http://drowsydriving.org/about/facts-and-stats/ The trouble is we don’t even recognize how exhausted we are because we’re so used going through our days with less than we need. Bodies adapt.  
      If you’re working full time, changing the way you use your lunch hours will make a difference in the rest of your day… and the mood you end up bringing home by the end of it. Instead of cramming down a bite and cramming in an errand, maybe find a place to close your eyes for 20 min. midday whenever you can.  
      I know this suggestion won’t sit well if your bedroom doubles as an office or entertainment center, but it is the most important room in the house, so try looking at it with new eyes. Setting it up for sleeping and libido ONLY means striving for a calmer environment: no TV, no computer, no clutter. And of course a great pillow, or at least a non-scuzzy one. Also, the bath addict in me can’t help recommending a hot soak at the end of the day to relax body and mind before bed.  
      Amazing how such eye-opening benefits are all about keeping your eyes closed.