Thursday, 24 October 2013

Sleepy, Sleepy, Best For Me

Earlier this month, I attended an informative talk about stress management. Some things were an obvious reminder. Some information was refreshing. But one fact kept jumping out at me, accusing me with very good reason. Something I brushed off as acceptable for my life. 

I need more sleep.

I've blogged before about my decision to rank all other things before sleep. There is so much to fill into a day. (How on earth do people get bored?) Once everyone else is asleep I get in cleaning mode. Or reading mode. Or writing mode. Or work-out mode. Or just enjoy myself mode. I've made an attempt to cut out some stuff so that I don't put off sleep too much. I left Facebook groups, like my November 2011 babies group. I stopped playing games like Sudoku and Words With Friends and Scramble. I sigh at the idea of wanting to paint. To learn to sew. To bake my own bread. Not now. 

But, sleep still gets pushed back repeatedly as the final prerogative. Even when I have to drag myself through the afternoon and tell myself I won't do this again! I will go to bed early! Yah right. Time just ticks away. Then, days when I do get to bed earlier, something interrupts it, like my daughter having a bad dream or my dog having midnight diarrhea (I'm not talking small here). These inconveniences aren't as bad in an otherwise optimal schedule. 

But I've let it get out of hand. I totally missed a stop light and nearly caused an accident. I forgot something extremely important. Many times. (Like driving three hours each direction and having no wallet for gas!) And I am not investing in my health. 

I am very aware of our actions and how they influence our health. I've turned my life around with positive thinking, relationships, spirituality, diet, and exercise. But in this busy life it is so difficult to keep the balance. How many times have you ever said, "I'll never go back?" Just to find yourself asking, "How did I get here again?"

I would cut down on sugar and love the results and then have a moment, like a movie theatre pig out (family bag of m&ms for one?) that would result in continuous cravings that pulled me back to old habits. Or I would feel strong in my core or my running and be determined to continue but then suddenly excuse after excuse would lead to missed workouts. 

Over time I have become more perseverant. (Goals are helpful.) But I will always be aware that I am never immune. Temptation will always loiter in its sneaky way. Distractions will evermore pop up. I am a human and must religiously keep on guard. 

And I need to start guarding my ZZZZs. I'm very, very bad at this! Just today I was going to nap as I had jaw surgery the other day and I only slept until 5am this morning. But what did I do instead? Looked at photos. And more photos. Always something! 

For me, being aware of the reasons is a motivator for action. It'll still take time to develop good habits, yes, but with educated mindfulness, success is more likely. I know it hinders my concentration and memory. I know it influences my food choices. I know it lowers my ability to be patient. I know it increases the chance of injury, from things like car accidents and falls. (And I know it does these things to my husband too. We have a household epidemic!)

These should simply be reasons enough. But looking into the long term is something that I need to do to push my proper decision making when faced with each day to day opportunity. Really, as a society we aren't as good at focusing on long term affects as apposed to short term gratification. 

Sleep deprivation is detrimental for the heart. I could tell myself this doesn't apply to me. I run. I have a low pulse. So much that warning beeps accusingly alarm whenever I have my blood pressure and pulse checked at a clinic. But taxing it heavily in one area isn't necessarily erased by good habits in another. It helps. But only helps.

Continuous lack of sleep can damage the brain. These foggy, tired moments don't want to become permanent. I want to age well. Bad sleep habits can increase insulin resistance, even for a healthy eater. I don't want to make this effort to eat properly be all for nothing. Lack of shut eye makes it harder for the body to prevent and battle many things, like other stresses, colds, cancer, osteoporosis. 

Sounds like good enough reasons to give sleep antecedence. I'm not just living for today. For this week's to do list. For this moment's pleasures. For the people in my life now. I am living for the future. For my children and grandchildren. For the issues my loved ones will endure down the road. For many things that I can't even imagine. And I want to be healthy enough to experience all of them physically and mentally to the utmost fullest.


Nap time. 

No comments:

Post a Comment