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Odds are, if you’re a parent, you're missing the mark on nightly Zs. Find out for yourself, but sleep easy; Getting back on track is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Look at the graphic below and try to spot the dots as they turn on and off.


It’s difficult to do, right?

Here’s the shocker: They’re not moving at all. It’s a static image. Perhaps if you were well rested and feeling sharp you would have caught that.

Now for the facts:

Sleep experts say most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night for optimum performance, health, and safety.1 A lack of sleep can go well beyond being tired; it can affect how you think and cope, leading to an overall decrease in mental acuteness.

Sound familiar? If you’re a parent, there’s little wondering why: Parents of newborns often lose about two hours of sleep per night until the baby is 5 months old. From then until their child hits 2 years old, on average parents lose an hour of sleep each night.2

Even then, getting your full dose can be challenging. In fact, a poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that 76 percent of parents have frequent sleep problems.3

When you sleep only a couple of hours per night on an ongoing basis, you build up a "sleep debt" that can be hard to pay back. If your sleep debt persists over time, your health can suffer.


Finally, the good news:

Fighting back is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

1 - Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. All are stimulants. Though some people claim alcohol helps them fall asleep, it actually increases wakefulness during the night.

2 - Avoid exercising within three hours of bedtime as the physiological stimulation disturbs the sleep process.

3 - Consider using your lunch-break at the office to catch up. While naps won’t fully get you back to where you want to be, even a short one can help to improve mood, alertness, and performance. According to National Sleep Foundation, you’d be in good company too; famous nappers include Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Napoleon, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison.

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