Sleep is an important- but oft neglected-basic need.
Most adults (including yours truly) simply do not get enough sleep to fuel their busy lifestyles. This is bad because sleep deprivation can lead to all kinds of preventable illness - like obesity and heart disease.
Lack of sleep can also keep you from performing at your best. It can affect the way you treat other people and it can affect your ability to think positively. The tell-tale signs of tiredness -bags under eyes and being cranky -are just not very attractive either.
Did you know that sleep deprivation has been used effectively as a method of torture? It is a horrible thing! Why do we do this to ourselves?
I consider myself to be a bit of a night owl. It often seems like I don't completely hit my "zone" until late afternoon...sometimes this carries me into the wee hours of the morning...and then, of course, I find getting out of bed in the mornings quite harsh and unpleasant. I have friends who have young kids, friends who work long hours, a few friends who still party like they are in their twenties..we all have excuses for not getting to bed at a decent hour, but no really good reasons, I think.
On its face, going to bed early seems soooooo easy, doesn't it? There is nothing particularly strenuous about it- it doesn’t take a lot of exertion- and there are times (like when my alarm went off this morning at 5:30am) when nothing seems easier or better than being (and staying) in bed. A good night's sleep just feels good!
So, last night I explored the option of getting to bed early. I was so enthusiastic to be making my first big commitment to self care. I brushed my teeth, washed my face, pulled on my British Airways first class pajamas (that Mr Self Care procured for me on a recent business flight) and I hit the hay at 9:00pm!
My records show that at 10, 11 and 11:59pm I was still wide awake, staring at the ceiling (except for when I woefully looked at the clock as it blared back those sleepless hours)
At 1 am I actually got up and had a cup of tea I fought the urge to pull out my laptop and play Zuma Blitz...and maybe iron a basket of laundry.
I think it was closer to 2am when I finally was able to sleep.
Experts say that most adults should get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. I was shooting for 7. I think I got less than 3.
Well, naturally my first thought this morning when my alarm went off was " I don't want to go to work today!" followed by "Mondays really suck." followed by an almost defeated "I can't be self care girl, because I really suck at this self care thing!" but after I simmered down and looked at the situation over my black coffee with a tablespoon of milk (the diet!), I realized that this experience just reinforced that even the easiest types of self care, may not be quite so easy. The real self care lesson here is to be "easy on yourself, when you find something isn't so easy"
I will try again tonight (I was actually planning on going to bed before tomorrow anyway). And this time I have done a little bit more research on the subject...
A few useful tips for getting a good night's sleep:
- Operate on the same sleep schedule as much as possible. Go to bed and wake up at close to the same time...even on the weekend...even though you are tempted to sleep until noon.
- Coffee and alcohol can inhibit sleep- stop drinking these 8 hours before bedtime.
- Get plenty of exercise daily.
- If you are having trouble sleeping, a warm bath and mug of warm milk may help.
- Keep your room cool and dark
- Make your bed an inviting place to be...invest in fluffy pillows, a warm comforter, and soft, cozy sheets... a good teddy bear would be cool too.
- Remove televisions and other electronic equipment from your bedroom. Make this room your private retreat.
- Get yourself in the habit of following a bedtime routine.
- Visit the website: http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/sleep-stages.gif to learn more about sleeping well.
- Go easy on yourself if at first you don't succeed...there is always tomorrow night!
Take Good Care!