Sleep Is REALLY Our Best Friend

Sleep has always been a critical ingredient to a healthy body. We know that our physical health can be significantly affected by lack of sleep. Our heart health, brain health, weight management, and immune systems are all connected to healthy sleeping habits. Less often discussed is how our mental health and productivity are also greatly influenced by the quality and quantity of our sleep.

Studies show consistent bedtimes and wake-up times increase the quality of our sleep health. The COVID-19 pandemic has not only robbed us of a sense of security and health, but for many of us, it has also altered our schedules and lives into a chaotic, erratic mess. Interestingly, the pandemic has displaced so many things we require to be healthy and whole (such as routine, social connection, and feelings of safety). It is no wonder that many of us are experiencing disruption in our sleep.

To counter this disruption, I propose treating sleep like a best friend! There are two things we must first do:

  1. Acknowledge the importance of sleep. If we do not believe it is essential, we will not prioritize it in our lives. We will take it for granted and ignore how it feels and what it needs. Sleep may eventually not want to be with us. That is not how we want to treat our friends.
  2. Create a space for our friends. When sleep is essential to us, we provide what it needs. Things like a routine, a comfortable place, and a specific temperature are necessary to sleep. So, we must work hard to create an environment where our friend is at their best. That is what a best friend would do!

When our friend, sleep, is prioritized and cared for, it can improve our mood, work performance, and ability to create a healthy work-life balance. Often, we do not appreciate how much we need sleep until the symptoms of fatigue are present. The signs of fatigue are different for us all. Some of the more common symptoms include lower cognitive skills (i.e., problem-solving skills, memory, ability to focus), higher irritability, and lack of motivation.

For optimal performance, focus on acquiring the rest your body needs!

For more tips about sleep health, check out the Sleep Institute at  or

You can also check out the @balancingact_lms for daily wellness tips!

Dr. Kimberly VanBuren

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