Prioritize sleep

Day 8: SLEEP


Christmas dinner is over and it was a veritable feast. It was the first time I've ever had goose. And sweet potatoes mashed with roasted bananas and covered with a nut/cinnamon crumb topping. The asparagus with Hollandaise was lovely.

And as I sat there and placed my napkin beside my plate I felt a warm feeling of gratitude throughout my body. This Christmas I am grateful for many things, but one of them I count above all others.

I am really looking forward to bedtime tonight. I have enjoyed tremendously healing, deep sleep almost every night for many consecutive months in a row---and after having suffered through acute insomnia a couple of years ago (and again last winter) I am really enjoying the many healing benefits of good, hearty sleep.

Some simple research on sleep reveals startling and sometimes dismal statistics. If you've landed on this page, I trust you to google whatever information you need to convince you that sleep, like water, isn't optional if you want good health and more happiness in your life. The biological effects of good sleep are many. I can testify to the improvement in my own quality of life since I made a few simple but very important changes to my sleep habits.

I enjoy these changes from last year:

1) less feelings of depression and anxiety 2) better sleep quality; I sleep like a rock and wake up refreshed 3) awakening without an alarm clock 4) more energy and stamina to make it through very long days

A couple of years ago, I paid no attention to the correlation between my bedtime, my sleep and my life. When I lived on a very busy street, I slept with ear plugs in each ear to drown out the noise. With increased mindfulness and intentionality during my training as a health coach, I eventually had to move because the noise was just too much for me. My next apartment will be far from the nearest busy street. I sleep very lightly and the quieter my environment, the better. I was also grappling with an unhealthy relationship and a job that wasn't a right fit. It became increasingly difficult to sort through these complex situations with a sleep deprivation cloud hovering over everything. Where did one thing begin and another end?

That wasn't working. Now things are very different.

I've worked hard to develop a habit of getting into bed and settled down at the same time each night. When I don't do this, my sleep quality suffers. When I go to bed stressed from my day, my sleep suffers. When I try to extend my workday beyond my personal limits, my sleep suffers. As the winter sets in and decreased daylight begins to affect my hormones and circadian rhythms, my sleep suffers.

Besides a consistent bedtime, several other key changes I've made (none of which involved spending even $1) have resulted in many nights of deep restful sleep and now:

My mood is better. I haven't been sick in over 4 months. My weight is stabilized. My skin is clearer. My memory retention has increased and my response time is faster.

I am really looking forward to bedtime tonight. It will set me up for a good productive day tomorrow. It will keep me on a schedule to maintain balance emotionally, mentally and physically.

And after a long day of eating warming, hearty foods---it is exactly what my body needs. What better present is there?