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Stanford University School of Medicine

Getting zzzzzs for science: Come take the Better Sleep Challenge

Is it mid afternoon? Are you bravely resisting the urge to have a cup of coffee or a candy bar to get you through the last two hours of your work day? (Okay, let me just lay my cards on the table: I am!)

If you're one of the 40 percent of Americans who don’t get enough sleep most nights, you might want to sign up for the Better Sleep Challenge, sponsored by the Stanford Prevention Research Center’s WELL for Life program.

The Better Sleep Challenge is similar to April’s No Added Sugar Challenge. Well for Life is now inviting tired individuals for one week to sleep 7 to 9 hours per night — by practicing at least two healthy sleep habits.

The healthy sleep habits include things like taking a short walk outside first thing in the morning, using ear plugs or reducing your late night exposure to electronics. There are lots of healthy habits to choose from, but you need only incorporate two into your daily routine.

Enrolling in the WELL for Life program doesn't just help you. It also helps Stanford researchers better understand the science behind wellness. Launched last fall, the long-term project set a goal of enrolling 10,000 people and has already registered more than 1,000 participants.

I have to admit that I personally didn’t sign up for the no added sugar challenge — because I didn’t want to give up chocolate. But it’s really hard to argue with the case for more sleep. And the Better Sleep Challenge folks are persuasive, asking things like:

If you were hungry would you put off eating for 2 hours? Do you feel guilty for needing a big glass of water when you are thirsty?

The benefits of 7-9 hours of sleep each night are well documented and include a reduced risk for obesity; less stress and inflammation; better memory, mood and blood sugar control; and improved creativity academic and athletic performance.

Plus getting a good night’s sleep feels great!

If you interested, you can find out more at the WELL Better Sleep Challenge Facebook page and you can sign up for challenge here.

Previously: “Oh, my! It’s in everything!” Stanford group encourages people to ditch sugar for a week“It’s an effort to change the world of medicine and health”: WELL for Life launches today and WELL unites project organizers at a wellness summit
Photo by claudioscott

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