Sleep the Under Rated Habit – Self Care Series

It’s hard to know where to start with this one because, you will hear so many people say that “sleep is over rated.”  Women boast about being able to multi task, which after years of experience of this type of nonsense,  I have learned, is basically a slow crawl to burn out, fatigue, illness and the worst way to care for yourself.

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Me, after a great nights sleep.

But let me say it here, loud and clear….

SLEEP.

If you never get to a massage, or your nails done, or get to hide away to read that book that has been sitting on your bed stand….if the dishes are dirty and the carpet needs vacuuming, forget all of that….

Make sleep a priority.

Sleep is one of the most important habits you make.  Your mental and physical health depend on it.

Here is a {short} list of what happens when you don’t get enough sleep.

  1. Depression
  2. Weight Gain
  3. High Blood Pressure
  4. Weakened Immune System
  5. Accident Prone

Here is a short list of what happens when you DO get enough sleep.

  1.  Happier disposition
  2. Lose Weight
  3. Live Longer
  4. Better Quality of Life
  5. Improve Memory/Cultivate Creativity

 

Sleep is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

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Next question:  How do I even start?

The first thing you need to figure out is just how much sleep your body needs.  Not everyone is created equal.  Here is a helpful sleep table:

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For me, I  function very well with 7 hours of sleep a night.  And it is my priority.  My life is basically structured  around making sure I get the amount of sleep I need.  And if I am running on a deficit, I make sure that I make it up at some point during the next few days.  I have turned down nights out with friends, and other activities, because I have learned just how important sleep is for me and my health.

How does one start?

S.L.O.W.L.Y.

Like with any other habit, the sleep habit is one you have to create for yourself and find out what works.   If you only have been getting 4 hours a sleep a night, push yourself to get 4.5.  When that becomes easy go for 5 or 5.5.  Baby steps.   Eventually working your way up to the hours that are optimal for you.

If you have an iPhone, I love the “bedtime” app that already comes with your phone.  I have set it up for my 7 hours of sleep.  It will “ping” me 30 minutes before I am to be IN BED.  This gentle reminder will get me moving towards turning off electronics, putting things in order for the next day like the coffee maker, and getting the dog to bed.    The alarm in the morning after your adjusted sleep hours is quiet and pleasing.  There are different tones you can choose and all of them are a nice way to rouse in the am.

Here are a few other pointers for getting to bed “on time.”

  1.  Keep your electronics outside of your bedroom.  I keep my phone in my room but not my laptop and we do not have a TV in our bedroom.
  2. Start turning off the lights in the house about 15minutes before bedtime.  This triggers your mind to start slowing down.
  3. Write your to do list down before you pull up the covers.  You know, you have a ton of things on your mind.  Get them out.  Then put that list away and you can revisit it in the am.

Now I understand that there are a few circumstances in which sleep disturbances are caused by medical conditions and treatments.  For women like me with cancer, often times our treatment causes major disturbances in our sleep patterns.  But even with that said, my goal all the time is making sure that I am allowing my body time to heal, fight and restore.

Have a tip for sleeping.

Please leave me a comment.

I will talk a little bit more about night time rituals next Tuesday.  Thanks for visiting.

With love and adventure,

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(now, I can hear all the mom’s saying…but but you don’t understand, I have kids, and they are young, and I work, and they play sports, and and….    Here’s the thing…I understand.  I get it.  If you want some advice, I am happy to give it, leave me comment below and I will answer your concern.  BUT I raised three children myself, all of whom are now happy fully functional adults, and I MADE them nap, set a regular bed time, and created rituals…why? so that I could sleep. )

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3 thoughts on “Sleep the Under Rated Habit – Self Care Series

  1. This is so, so good. It makes me think of one other aspect of sleep – that of the problem of insomnia. I have had very rare episodes of insomnia – just enough to frustrate me but also enough to make me so very, very grateful that most of the time I am able to sleep well. What a gift!!! I will often mindfully notice that “I’ve been sleeping really well lately” or “Wow; that was a wonderfully sound sleep!” I no longer take that for granted so I choose to be grateful for the gift of sleep.

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