Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sweet Sleep

Getting Healthy - it's a goal I think most of us share, no matter what our level of fitness and knowledge is.  After all, the benefits are indisputable.  Who doesn't want to feel better, look better, live longer?   I'm struggling with it this year, though, and I think I might have hit upon why.  I'm tired.

Yes, I know, it's a parent's lot in life to be tired. But this goes beyond worn out from running around with the kids.  It comes more from deep seated need to get everything done - perfectly I might add - in an effort to keep up with what I think should be accomplished in a day. 

Have you ever looked at your 'to-do' list?  Is it longer than Al Capone's rap sheet?  Does it look more like Santa's list that goes on and on and on and... well, you get the picture.   It's never ending, too.  Laundry, for example, is one of those things that no sooner do you finish the last load than the baskets are filling up again.  Dishes are like that - and toys. 

You know what?  I think enough is enough on the overcommitment list.  I don't even have kids in sports so I can hardly imagine what some of you face on a daily basis.  Add to that a full work week crammed into four days and top it off with close to four hours commuting - each day.  Yep... I'm tired.  I stay up until close to midnight every night, wake up at 5am and often I'm interrupted by little feet coming to see me in the night.  It's not a wonder I can't get anything done.  It's not a wonder I sometimes find myself staring out into nothing.  My brain is tired, my body is tired, and it's hard to focus.

I've also read that lack of sleep is a contributing factor to being overweight.  I can see it.  You're tired, so you reach for the caffeine, the midday sugar fix (OK and the mid morning one and the mid evening one) and you make poor choices because you don't think clearly.  I also know that exercise is a great way to increase your energy.  But when you subsist on 5 hours or less of sleep a night, seriously - who wants to?

Perhaps it's time to turn off the light a little earlier.  Take the books out of the bedroom (and the tv if you have one - thankfully I kiboshed that when we moved to our house) and make the room conducive to nodding off.  There are so many benefits to getting sleep - your body has time to repair itself, your mind has time to quieten down, you begin to find a rhythm in your daily life,  your intimate moments with your partner (remember those?) make a come back, you eat less crap because you're not reaching for it to stay awake, your happier without the crankiness factor... Seriously, I could go on for hours. 

I am going to commit to heading to bed earlier.  Maybe not every night - but most.  I'm going to turn off the computer, put down the book, walk away from the chores I'm more staring at than doing, and let my head hit the pillow.  In fact, I think I might just take a page out of my kid's book and set up a routine that makes me prepare for sleep. Change into my jammies, brush my teeth, take a bath when I can (works for them, right?), have a quiet 5 or 10 minutes with a cup of tea and a journal and turn out the lights. 

I'll let you know how it goes.  AND I invite you to try it out.  Let's all head to bed at least 15 minutes earlier and work ourselves up to a good night's sleep.

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