Sleep – Is it Your Worst Enemy or Best Friend?

The American author and poet, Anne Lamott, on the benefits of rest:
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”

We all know the importance of sleep…I think. 🤔  If you’re still unsure, check out why here.

It’s, also, likely you’ve seen the value in creating a bedtime routine. Our best friend, Google, has lots of great ideas on this. My two favorite sources:

Now that we’re on the same page, great!  What’s your sleep pattern like – is it your worst enemy or best friend?

I want to talk about a few very real things I’ve noticed and how I’ve adapted to make my routines better.

First up, having a consistent bedtime and wake routine is good. Next, let’s be honest and ask – how often will it happen like clockwork? 

In our house, the kids push the bedtime hour regularly.  Then there are the times the adults aren’t ready for bed as we’re focused on a project, something needs to get done, or we want to Netflix and chill.  My honest answer, the hour in which we go to bed isn’t consistent.  I’ve had to adopt a “so what” mentality.

As for the wake time, again, I’m as inconsistent as they come.  My start time varies EVERY SINGLE DAY because I refuse a 5:15 wake up every morning to match my earliest start time.  Not happening.  But that’s me, some people I know LOVE that early hour.  You do you.  I attempt to abide by a window, giving myself at least 7 hours from bedtime to waking time using my Apple Bedtime Scheduler which gives me a 30-minute bedtime reminder based on my wake time.  I am not perfect with it BUT when I get the reminder, if I’m not already in bed I know it’s time to start heading that way.  It’s a subtle cue that supports a better sleep habit. Progress, not perfection

To be honest, my body’s favorite non-alarm wakeup time is 7:30ish.  That said, during the pandemic I’ve noticed we sleep in until 9 on days we don’t set an alarm.  I’ve also discovered that I’m most rested after 8-9 hours of sleep.  Things to file away for future habit adjustments.  Until then… wishful dreaming.

Are you a TV watcher before bed? Next, let’s be honest and ask – what is it about having the boob tube on is helpful for you?

While not a huge habit of mine,  I noticed I have to be mindful of what I’m watching when I do.  Ozark or GOT-type shows are no-gos, so is anything news related. Who needs THAT before bed?! You do you though.

If you are a TV watcher, put it on a timer and watch something that isn’t stimulating your brain more than the blue light.  If it’s more of a fixation, I encourage you to begin breaking the cycle.

We’ve chosen not to put a TV in our room. However, our phones are plugged in sitting on our nightstands. How easy is it to hang out checking out the book of faces or perusing YouTube when it’s right there?  What’s the first thing you do after opening your eyes and a good stretch? Phones are often worse mind-sucks than the TV.

It’s HARD to put it down or not pick it up with every notification, becoming like zombies tied to our devices sometimes. Our phones are our alarm clocks since we get up at different times.  Yes, as a lifestyle coach, I know it’s not the healthiest thing to have next to your bed for many, many reasons.  I know we can get regular alarm clocks.  And, yet, my phone is still my device of choice. This is where I shrug my shoulders and say “o, well”.

My nightly goal is to put it on the charger as soon as I head up for my bedtime routine. Then not look at it until coming back down the stairs. Lots of reasons not to open up social media too early in the morning.Progress, not perfection.

A few final thoughts.

Readers: Stellar habit! I like it, though it happens 50% of the time.  I swear it takes me for-e-ver to read a “fun book”.  😂   If you’re a reader, read on!

Meditation: Still haven’t figured out the meditation thing… a habit for another day. If you’ve found this helpful, keep at it!

Nights I really can’t or don’t think I’ll be able to fall asleep:   I trust this handy-dandy little guy.

And temperature, O the blessed temperature.

Some nights it’s too hot, some nights it’s too cold, and some nights it’s juuuuuust right.  This one I leave to you to figure out.  We’re all so different in how we like to sleep.

Studies show that colder temps are better for sleeping but what happens when the temps rise? Air conditioning or deal with it, a no-win situation in our house because we air-conditioned air feels so artificial. I love my down comforter, the weight of it makes me feel safe. Yet, it tends to heat me up like a frog placed in a pot of room temp water then brought to boil. The struggles and the bliss when it’s right.

What it boils down to… What’s working and what isn’t?  Keep what makes you feel your best and work on adjusting what doesn’t.  It won’t change overnight, so don’t even set that expectation.  You’ll mess it up sometimes and you’ll get it right others.

Sleep is a key component to living your most vibrant, awesome life!  It’s key in your ability to give more to those around you.  Do your best not to scrimp on it.  🙂

The longer you keep at it, the more it will change over time. Keep fighting the good fight and kicking the unwelcome side effects of aging to the curb.

Lots of love,

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