UNITED STATES—This past week has been a doozy for me to say the least. Not only was the stress of school and work mounting, but it seemed like no matter what I did, it was nearly impossible for me to get a good night’s sleep. I tried to go to sleep early, that did not work. I put myself in busy mode to work so much that I became exhausted to the point where my body was desperate for a good night sleep, still no luck. Could it be my health at play? I thought that for a second, but my eating habits haven’t varied and I haven’t been feeling fatigued? So it raises the old age question, what good is sleep if it’s not quality sleep?

Yes, it is indeed a tough question to find the perfect answer for, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I prefer quality sleep over the quantity of sleep. Look, I know, we all are expected to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night, but let’s be honest, more than 50 percent (probably more) Americans aren’t coming close to achieving that number. I used to be good with getting at least 7 hours of sleep, now it seems things have transitioned to 5-6 hours per night.

I have noticed a culprit to that sleep deprivation: dogs. For reasons, I cannot fathom these dogs are constantly barking during the wee hours of the night, and I am someone that is a peace sleeper. I have to have absolute quietness when I sleep. No TV, no sounds, the only exception would be the ceiling fan to provide a bit of calm. That’s it; the slightest sound can cause me to stir while in bed. Once I’m up I’m up, even if I’m still in bed, if I’m conscious as to what is going on, what good is that sleep. It isn’t.

However, a bit of a solution that has constantly popped into my mind is a vacation. I think if I can rid myself of all the distractions, for 7 days, to be honest I prefer 14 days (the longer the better, as I’m able to sever all distractions at hand). I know most people think a week is great, but if you do the math, you need a day to decompress from work and then the last 2 days of your vacation leaves problems as the ‘got to go back to work’ ideology comes back to fruition.

So in essence that leaves you four days where you are able to fully decompress and relax. So is that really a vacation in the long run? To some degree, but a true vacation will give you the opportunity to sleep without any distractions whatsoever. No need to rush to get up because you don’t have work, you don’t have dogs to deal with and if you have kids let a relative take care of them so that you can fully relax without any distractions in play.

The one caveat I would argue that has proven to be a worthy assist in the world of sleep are those quick naps taken throughout the day when possible. I swear I feel like a 20-30 minute nap is the best thing because I actually feel as if I slept for at least 8 hours. Yes, it may sound like the craziest thing in the world, but it truly helps. I’m lucky if I’m able to get 2 naps during the entire week, but I’m going to find a way to work my schedule where I accomplish this feat because it makes me feel rejuvenated, not to mention well rested.

I’m one that can function without sleep, but after a while the body begins to shut down and when you crash you crash quite hard and it’s not as easy to recover from it, no matter what people may say. There is no point just sitting in the bed hoping to get back to sleep when you know no matter what you do, the sleep you want you’re not going to get. So what does that mean? You have to take action to change the course of things America, as they say what you eat is important, but how long you sleep and allow the body to rejuvenate is just as important.