September 2, 2010

The Importance of Sleep

by

BabyGirl at 3 weeks old

Last night I was thoroughly exhausted. Sleep is often my enemy and come 10 o’clock at night I’m wide awake. Which is good when you have so much to do – work, prep for the next day’s lessons, file paperwork, organize coupons, write a blog, read other blogs and comment, tweet with friends, read facebook and comment, plan grocery trips, talk with husband, clean the house, do the laundry, and ……

You get the picture. Probably not much different from your life. I’m not complaining. Definitely not. However, I am saying that all these things take time, as you know. And for a person like me who is a perfectionist, over-achiever, type-A, or whatever you want to  call I go crazy when there are things to do yet bedtime rolls around.

I get anxious and nervous and flustered knowing there are things that need to be done and I can’t turn off my brain and make it quiet. I see the stacks of papers, the emails in the inbox, the laundry, the dishes and I feel the need to get it ALL done before I sleep.

But last night I was beyond tired. I’d been up super late (well, 3am, so that’s early!) the night before and up at 7am. The day was full but I still didn’t get to everything I think I should have done. The operative word being THINK. These aren’t necessarily life ending things that need to be done. But tell that to my subconscious.

I know sleep is important. I’ve read about how to get good sleep, and I’ve talked to a sleep expert. Every once in awhile I’ll make my way over to the Sleep Foundation to try and set myself straight about the importance of sleep.

So, even though I may not follow them all the time, I wanted to share with you 5 Ways To Help You Sleep Better:

1. Set a sleep routine — go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day to help set your body to your sleep/wake cycle. This is where I need help. I seem to have mastered the wake cycle but not the sleep one.

2. Make your bedroom a place you want to be — your bedroom should be a comfort zone with the temperature you like, pillows and bedding that you like and if you like it dark, make it that way. I love my bedroom. It’s just the way I want it and comfortable and cool.

3. Sleep primarily at night — If you are supposed to be up during the day, sleeping at night is a must. Sleeping during the day can change the sleep wake cycle.  Luckily, I never have this problem. Once I’m up, I’m up!

4. Exercise — Actually, I probably should call it activity. Being physically active is one way to help you sleep better. I know this. I used to exercise more and I definitely slept better. Now, though, I don’t make physical activity a priority. I’m not a total bum but surely I can use more activity.

5. When you’re tired, go to bed! — Sounds easy doesn’t it. But how come I can’t seem to remember this very simple thing. When I’m tired I just try to push through it so I can get ALL of this STUFF done. Also, I don’t want to let anyone down or ‘drop the ball’ on anything so my anxiety starts to set in and then it’s all over.

So you’re thinking, Sara’s pretty smart. (Thank you, you’re so kind!) But why can’t she figure out this sleep thing. It’s not like it’s rocket science, it’s sleeping. Lie down. Close your eyes. Go to sleep. Yah, yah, yah. I know. I know. But it’s hard to balance sleep with anxiety and stress. So I’m working on that. But I also want to have a great website so you’ll keep coming back, a clean house (uh let me clarify that, a ‘Sara clean’ house), a smart child, a happy family, and …. well, ok, so basically I want it all.

We all want it ‘all’. Do you sleep well? If so, share your secrets. Do you let things ‘slide’? Tell me how to do that too and not get all freaky and nervous and wake up at 3am because I really can’t. Do you wish you could sleep better?

I’d say goodnight, but I’m writing this in the morning. Remember, I said last night I was exhausted. I was. And I went to bed around midnight. Success! (for me). So, I’ll say Have The Best Day You Can Have, whatever that may be.

Sara

{ 4 comments }

Carrie September 2, 2010 at 11:20 am

i need to wake up by 7:15 everyday so to get 8 hours of sleep i need to go to be by 11:15 so if i’m not already tired and ready for bed by 10:30, i brush my teeth, take my contacts out and hop in bed to read until 11:15.

the thing i’ve been struggling with is not getting to sleep but staying asleep. i had been waking up at 4 am worried i would be late to work (which is 10 minutes away and starts at 8:30 so that’s a ridiculous worry but i couldn’t make it go away) so the doc has me taking a very low dose of anti anxiety medicine before i go to sleep now

Honey September 2, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Hi Sara,

What an awesome post. I always love coming over here and reading.

I am a night owl. I am the most productive after 9pm at night.

I loved your suggestions for sleeping better. I head to bed between 12-1 most nights (so this is pretty consistent). I would love to have a bedroom that is a place of rest. When we rearranged the bedrooms our bedroom got merged with the office and never got purged (so, not a place of peaceful sleep). I do sleep mostly at night unless I fall asleep with the twins on the couch for a couple of hours (which is a good thing because it means they are actually napping and they will sleep better at night). I could use more exercise or activity in my day (I’m working on it). I have the bad habit of pushing through sleep to get things done and then I get a second wind and I can’t sleep at all.

I don’t sleep well most nights, but I have a hubby who lets me catch up a bit in the mornings. The twins are up way too much at night, but Hosanna has a host allergies and is a tiny little muffin so she needs the nursings to catch up the calories. If I catch a second wind then my mind whirls and I can’t put it to rest. If I could just catch hours in a row, I’d be good to go most days.

One thing I can do is clear my room of it’s clutter and extra baggage (the inheritance from the office) and make it a pretty sanctuary and place of rest. Thank you for the inspiration (and little push) to make a needed change.

Blessings
Honey

I think the main thing hindering my sleep right now is my two year old twins who have not learned how to sleep through the night.

Kate @ Songs Kate Sang September 2, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Hi! I am thinking you are a genious!

I battle with insomnia on and off. This is an on time right now – but those are all great reminders!

Hollee September 2, 2010 at 6:42 pm

I know what you mean about the wheels spinning in your head. I just try to be really strict with myself, especially now that we all get up early to get the kids off to school by 7:30. I sometimes turn on Pandora and listen to relaxing music if I’m struggling. I know that I will feel terrible the next day if I don’t get at least eight hours, so I try not to fight it! Get some sleep, woman!

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