The New Epidemic and How To Avoid It


There is a new epidemic that is now affecting more people than the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention label it the “public health epidemic”. That epidemic is none other than sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprivation is something every individual experiences, sometimes on a daily basis. Sleep deprivation can lead to inability to concentrate, retain information, and poor driving. How can one avoid sleep deprivation?

According to ways to fall asleep faster include:

  • Read a peaceful book before turning in
  • Cut down on sweets
  • Don’t exercise before turning in
  • Take a nice bath before going to bed
  • Don’t veg at the PC in the evenings
  • Have a light dinner
  • Avoid afternoon naps
  • Think of a loved one while falling asleep
  • Practice deep breathing in bed.
  • Spray lavender in your room
  • Avoid high caffeinated beverages
  • Pray for things that you are grateful for and don’t focus on stressful situations in your life
  • Stretch while in bed
  • Don’t watch scary or violent movies before going to bed
  • Count backwards

This list isn’t a solve-it-all for everyone but can be beneficial to those who are in high demand roles in their day-to-day lives. By improving our habits before and during bedtime, the epidemic of sleep deprivation, which has gripped this society for so long, will slowly begin to dissipate.

What are some ways you have found that help you fall asleep?

Ten Steps To A Drama and Stress-Free Life

Leo Tolstoy, a Russian writer, said, “If you want to be happy, be.” In this world, it’s a struggle to stay happy with all the commotion. Below, I have ten points in leading a happy, stress-free, drama-free life. Although this is not a definitive list, I’ve found success in using these ideas when life gets tough.

1. Smile. According to 15 Fascinating Facts About Smiling on, smiling can help improve one’s mood, boost your immune system, and relieve stress. It never hurts to smile. Smiling is contagious and can help bring happiness into any situation.

2. Get adequate sleep. Get the right amount of sleep that your body needs. Try to keep on the same sleep schedule as much as possible and try not to stay up super late. If you are having trouble falling asleep, do something to help you wind down. This can be anything from taking a hot shower, watching your favorite TV show, to reading a good book. Be careful with what you read or think about before you fall asleep. Chances are good you will have dreams or even nightmares about what you are thinking about. Once, I read an intense book before bed about a World War II bombing mission and then dreamt I took a date to see Las Vegas get bombed by World War II era bombers (I come up with such creative date ideas!).

3. Drink Plenty of Water. Make sure to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day and don’t allow yourself to become dehydrated. Although there is not a set number for the exact amount of water you should drink each day because it’s different for everyone the “8 by 8” rule remains popular because it’s easy to remember. I have found that when I don’t drink I normally get migraines, sick, exhausted, and stressed because I haven’t been treating myself to the right amount of water intake. Here’s a website with a quiz that can help you measure how much water you need to drink per day:

4. Eat Healthy. Simple–eat foods that make you feel good and avoid foods that make you feel bad. Have a wide variety of foods with different nutrients and health benefits. Treat yourself to fast food sparingly.

5. Look at life in a new perspective. It’s easy to look around to see that the world is in trouble and feel discouraged. I have found that in life, attitude is everything! I feel it is possible to be optimistic in any situation, no matter how bleak it is. Look for the good each day and notice the small miracles that come into your life. This can be anything from talking to a good friend or seeing the sun shine. I remember when I was a volunteer missionary for my church in Swainsboro, Georgia, the morning after four tornadoes almost touched down in our area in 2009. I have never seen a more beautiful clear blue sky and never appreciated the sunshine more. There is good to be found in any circumstance, if only we look for it.

6. Get out of friendships, relationships, or situations that bring stress and drama into your life. I understand how hard this can be but it’s worth it–avoid the above at all costs! Pay attention to how those people make you feel inside and if they are truly a benefit in your life. Surround yourself with good friends that encourage you to do your best, make you feel happy, and are just plain fun to be around. Last night I was invited by my Vietnamese friend, Ha Bui, to participate in the Vietnamese’s Association Karaoke Night. Those who know me know that I am not much for singing but I absolutely love lip syncing favorite songs. I mentioned this to Ha who encouraged me to do two lip sync performances for the Vietnamese Association. At first I was terrified, but thanks to the encouragement of Ha and other fellow association members, I went for it. It got me thinking about how one should have friends that accept you for who you are and are encouraging you to do your best. (Oh, in case you were wondering, the songs I lip synced were Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On and One Day More from the Les Miserables soundtrack. It was classic!)

7. Don’t be drama yourself. No one enjoys being around someone who is pessimistic—one who finds everything wrong with life. Everyone has bad days but make sure you aren’t the one who is always having a bad day. Don’t gossip or search for drama to keep your life rolling with excitement. Think of the effect your attitude is having on those around you. If you were one of your friends, would you want to hang out with your unhappy self? There is already enough drama in the world with broken marriages, the economy, foreign relations, politics, and my hard taco that was broken in two last night from Taco Bell. Don’t add to the vast pool of drama that is already in the world. Bring on the happiness instead. The world could use it.

8. Think of how much worse your life could be. Even on our very worst days, there is always someone else having a tougher time. Look at online news and you’ll find plenty of people who are suffering more than you. Be grateful for the life that you have and that you haven’t had to go through extreme trials, like losing your child at an elementary school shooting.

9. Be organized. It’s hard to feel at peace when you are disorganized. I have found that for some, having a messy room causes stress. I stay pretty busy right now with several roles I have here at Brigham Young University-Idaho and it can be hard to keep track of all my assignments. To keep myself from going crazy, I have a planner that helps me keep track of all my assignments to make sure I follow through on my commitments. If anyone would like a copy of it please e-mail me and I’d be happy to send it to you.

10. Cheer up those around you. This is my favorite bullet point. Those who know me know that I can do the goofiest things to cheer up those around me. It won’t always be successful (which can be awkward) but I guarantee that you will feel better yourself for trying. Another time when I was a volunteer missionary in Albany, Georgia, I was making phone calls late at night. I was feeling overwhelmed since my companion, Alex Maughan, and I had had a rough day in town. As I was talking with a lady on the phone to set up an appointment, Alex walked in and saw I was feeling a bit stressed. He walked out of the room. Seconds later, he started popping his head off to the left of the doorway making faces at me or playing peek-a-boo. He even started doing dance moves moving back and forth through the doorway. I had to apologize to the poor lady on the phone because I couldn’t stop laughing.  Another time, I was with my Mom, Dad, and sister at a local chapel helping taking down a piano recital my Mom had just hosted in our church’s auditorium. My Dad, sensing we were all feeling stressed, walked over to the microphone in the middle of the auditorium. Turning it on, my Dad announced in his radio-announcers voice, “Hello, Lee family! Remember, ‘recital’ rhymes with ‘suicidal’! That is all.” By the end of his announcement, I had dropped what I was carrying outside because I was on the floor laughing.

This list is not a solve-it-all, but it’s one I have found to be helpful in my own life. Each of you have your own ideas of living a drama-free, stress-free life. What are they? Make a list of your own and follow it. I can guarantee that by doing so, you can live a happier life. The only way to be happy is to be. It’s as simple as that.

ImageA fellow classmate of mine took this picture when we were at Mesa Falls in Idaho for a science field trip in the late fall of 2011. I love doing random poses like this for photos. I was excited to be there.