Sleeping & Surviving Silly Season
This morning I woke up tired…..exhausted….that type of tiredness where your whole body is limp….I really did not want to get out of bed. I wanted to curl up and go back to sleep. My lovely hubby tried his best, tried to keep our boys happy and quiet – but Mr 3 doesn’t yet know the meaning of the word ‘quiet’!! So I got up – it took me a long time to warm up to the day. But here I am, at my computer, having a chat with you….how did I do it? I thought about what would inspire me to write today, what sort of environment would take me out of that fugue.
So I am sat on our deck, listening to the birds singing, looking at a blue sky, wearing shorts and a t-shirt, my laptop on my, well, lap – I am feeling happy. And I have been thinking more about sleep…..no, not that I want to go back to bed (although it does sound quite appealing!), but how we all get into a routine of not having enough sleep and the impact it has on our days. We can get grumpy at the smallest thing, get wound up about what didn’t get done yesterday that we have to fit in today, put off exercising, yawn when talking to others (I feel awful when that happens as it’s absolutely no reflection on them…I simply can’t help it sometimes!).
What really woke me up (excuse the pun!) to the true impact of sleep depravation was an article I read recently via Facebook…in the article, sleep expert Matthew Walker (with excellent credentials), claims that insufficient sleep can be linked to everything from Alzheimer’s disease, strokes, cancer and even suicide – and it doesn’t take that much lost sleep to have an impact – the loss of just one hour in a single night. Click here to read the full article: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/sep/24/why-lack-of-sleep-health-worst-enemy-matthew-walker-why-we-sleep
This shook me up somewhat as for the past 7 years (ie since I was pregnant with Mr 6), I don’t feel that I have had a good run at sleep. That’s probably an understatement. And whether you have children or not, life is so busy, there are so many pressures on our time, especially at this time of year. I am sure I am not the only one with a full calendar for the next 4 weeks.
The article, published in The Guardian, provides some tips about how to help yourself get better quality and longer sleep, so it’s worth a read.
I think at this time of year we need to play close attention not only to our sleep patterns but our wellbeing overall. So, I have put together 7 actions to promote wellbeing over the next 4 weeks. It’s a commitment I am going to make to myself. I’ll give you an update on how it’s going….I’d encourage you to join me and reap the benefits:
1. Going to bed – with lights out – at or before 10pm at least three nights a week. This will probably be my biggest challenge which is why I have put it at number 1
2. Ensuring phone is on flight mode 1 hour before bedtime and stays like that until children have gone to school. I have been trying this latter part for the last few weeks and have found it has made my mornings much calmer
3. Making time to be outside for an hour everyday no matter what the weather. This is relatively easy in NZ at this time of year, but may be more challenging for those of you in the northern hemisphere
4. Saying no to social events or activities if your heart is not in it. It’s all very well trying to please others, but ultimately you won’t be any use to anyone if you’re not on form
5. Eating according to an 80/20 principle. This is based on the healthy eating regime I fallen in love with (more on that in a future blog), but basically it means eating unprocessed, nutritious food 80% of the time, with treats 20% of the time. I do love food and treats and wine, but I am committing to not indulging for the sake of it at home, but rather enjoy these treats in a social environment or when celebrating. I know I’ll feel so much better day to day, and will enjoy the treats more
6. Staying focused and on task – there’s so much to be done at this time of year – presents to buy, meals to plan, visitors, school activities, social events, never mind work! So when I am getting on with specific tasks, I am going to focus on them – this will promote a sense of achievement and progress rather than procrastination – making and reviewing a daily To Do list will help with this too.
7. Breathe! Sounds silly to have on a list, right?! But often we forget in our haste to breathe deeply and properly. I expect you know that feeling: when you’re a little short of breath and your heart is beating a little faster than it should…. in those moments STOP what you’re doing, close your eyes, and focus on breathing in through the nose, a deep long breath. Then slowly and controlled, breathe it out through your mouth. Repeat 4-5 times. Take stock and then start up again with your task. And no excuses like ‘I haven’t got time for that!’ – the world will not stop turning if you take 30 seconds to do this! And you’ll feel so much better for it!
What other tips have you got, or what will you be doing to help get you through the next 4 weeks?