I didn’t know how critical sleep was to functionality until we become parents. In our little boy’s first year, he struggled to sleep which meant that we didn’t sleep. If you are a long-time reader, you know that our little guy woke up after just forty-five minutes of sleep over and over and over X 15 again all night long. We were delirious, non-sensical, and not all that thoughtful. Zombies exist folks. I was one for all of 2009.
During this time, I quite about every bit of self-care that I had previously prioritized. Desperate times call for desperate measures, I reasoned. And everything, a simple meal preparation, for example, took so much longer when you were doing it exhausted. Thing that I had once been proud of- my ability to remember significant dates in the lives of my friends’, the ability to be efficient, thoughtfulness- just left me. I was a shell of the woman that I had once known.
Then, one night, sometime after he was a year old, our little guy woke up just three times. Instantly, I felt like a new person. When we strung a couple nights like that together, I realized that sleep was one of nature’s best medicines. And I decided to not be so cavalier or casual about it again.
Now, I try to turn my light out every night by 10:30 so that I am not totally asking for it when a 5:30 alarm sounds. And what I have realized is that I am a much better person when I am rested- not just to others but, most of all, to myself. I am kinder and more generous to the face that looks back at me in the mirror, more grateful to my body (and it probably more grateful to me since I am giving it the rest it deserves). I often say that food is medicine and I truly believe this. But good, healthy, nutrient-riched food is not the only good choice we can make for our body on a daily basis. Another one, that often goes unnoticed, is sleep.
Today: Plan your day and night in a way that you can get at least seven hours of sleep. If you are like me, you might need some wind down time before going to bed. If so, make sure that you are in your bedroom at least one hour before your determined bedtime to get ready for ready and then relax a little before you fall asleep. If it is hard for you to sleep, do a little research before bedtime comes on some strategies for either falling or staying asleep. Perhaps you need a cooler bedroom, a warm bath or drink before bedtime, some lavender, no screen time, less light in your room (I cover my alarm clock in order to get the room pitch dark). Prepare for sleep by finding out what you need to get the sleep your body and mind deserve.
1. How many hours were you able to sleep? How did you feel when you woke and during the next day?
2. Can you make a commitment to giving yourself at least 7 hours of sleep each night? What do you need to maintain that commitment?
3. How is allowing yourself to sleep a way of caring for yourself?
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Excited about this journey? Want more? Pick up Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance for a year long plan and guidance.