Tuesday, September 8, 2009

If You Don't Snooze, You Lose!

Sorry I have been gone for a few days. I was "fasting" my computer for a bit. You see, I have found myself, one too many nights, up late posting on one of my two blogs or just hangin' out in the blogsphere somewhere...looking at your blog, or hers, or his. The wheels in my head are always spinning with our family schedule, to-do lists, etc. Sometimes you just need to take a break. I had to prioritize a little this week. I was walking around a little sluggish, and a quite a bit grumpy at times. I had to be honest with myself and admit that I was breaking one of the cardinal rules of healthy living-GET SOME SLEEP!

We all know that sleep is important, but with our busier-than-ever lives, is it a priority? Are we giving up sleep to squeeze in just one more email, another television show, or typing away on Facebook? We think we've been at it for ten minutes and then suddenly hours have passed and our eyes are stinging and they feel like they might just pop out of our heads...it's no longer night. It's morning!

It is so easy for me to "pass the point of no return", as I call it. I was tired and now I'm not. I try to sleep, yet I am restless, staring at the ceiling, my mind just won't turn off. I am a firm believer that sleep begets more sleep. When we are getting enough sleep, we are able to get more of it. We have an internal clock, yet if we ignore it long enough, it doesn't quite function properly. We mommies know this all too well.

During my first year of new mommyhood, I was so severely sleep deprived that I eventually had to take supplements to help support my adrenals. The more sleep deprived I got, the harder it was to sleep when I actually had the opportunity. It was a vicious cycle that affected me on many levels. Now that my little one sleeps well (most nights), I appreciate a good-night's sleep more than ever! So why do I let myself get off track? Well, I think you all can relate to having "too much to do" and "not enough time in the day". It seems to be par for the course in our busy society. Seriously though, this is a major problem. According to Dr. James B. Maas, in The Power of Sleep, about 50% of the population in the U.S. is sleep deprived and about the same percentage has trouble sleeping.

So this night owl is making a commitment, a sleep contract with myself. Studies show that having a consistent bedtime and getting at least 6-8 hours of sleep each night promotes more restful sleep and overall health. Here are a few little tips to help you get into a good sleep habit:
  • Set a "have-to-be-in-bed-by" time and stick to it! The more consistent your clock is, the better.

  • Turn off the computer and television half an hour before bedtime, and dim the lights. The bright light and flashing images stimulate our brains, making it more difficult for our bodies to shift into sleep mode. If you have a hard time being disciplined with this one, set an alarm.

  • If your mind is going a mile a minute, try journaling. Jot down a quick list of the ideas keeping you awake. You can rest assured that the list will be waiting for you in the morning!

  • Take a hot bath. Soaking in the tub relaxes your muscles and tells your body it is time to drift away.

  • Grab a book-light reading will make you sleepy for sure. Just don't grab that super intense thriller you have been meaning to dive into...you might not want to put it down.

  • Enjoy a cup of tea-herbal teas like Chamomile and other blends are great natural sleep aids.

  • Listen to soothing music. I have a CD called Music to Promote Sleep. It was specially created to promote sleep by using "entrainment"-the natural phenomenon that results in the synchronization of the rhythms or motions of separate entities. Recent scientific research has shown that music can help synchronize body rhythms such as heart rate, breath rate and brainwave vibrations (Clynes, M., and Walker, J. 1982). I keep this CD playing on "repeat" mode through the night. Visit http://www.avalonmusic.com/ to view their catalogue.

  • Pray! When I pray and meditate on God's word, I am reminded that all of my little worries are just that-little. It puts everything into perspective and I can rest, knowing that I am not in charge around here.

Well, it is officially a few minutes till my bedtime and I had better try to stick to this plan. This momma just doesn't function without some good S-L-E-E-P! Sweet dreams!!

1 comment:

  1. That CD sounds interesting. I'll have to check it out. I find I need some sort of white noise to help me go to sleep. I have a clock with the different noise settings (crickets, rain, ocean waves, etc.) but could use something new.