Sleep Well

“When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.”

~ Proverbs 3:24

My child taking a nap

For the past week or so, I had been going to sleep pretty late.  I was doing the opposite of what I wanted.  I was going to sleep late every night and as a result, I was waking up late.  Two days ago, I decided to change that.  I went to sleep still somewhat late but I set my alarm to wake up at 7:00 am.  I was a little tired but I still did wake up.  At around 5:00 pm, I started feeling a slight headache.  I was feeling a little tired but I decided that I was not going to take a nap at that time, otherwise I would not be able to go to sleep early.  So I stayed Up and by 9:00 pm I was so sleepy I could no longer keep my eyelids open.  The nice thing is that my child also fell asleep with me. I was able to reset my sleeping time, although I had to force myself to stay up when I wanted to take a nap. 

I understand some people are night owls while others are early risers.  For me waking up early works best.  I get more things done and I enjoy the first hours of the morning to myself before the sun rises.   My goal is to go to bed by 9:00 pm and wake up at 5:00 am.  This will allow me to have the first couple of hours of the morning to myself and to do my writing. 

Why I’m I writing about sleeping well?  Because sleeping well is essential for your health.  Years ago, I used to think that sleeping was not that important.  I used to cut on sleep all the time so that I could have time to do other things.  I even used to think that sleeping for eight hours was a sign of laziness.  So whenever I would sleep eight hours or more, my body felt physically good, but I felt guilty for sleeping that many hours. 

Little did I know at the time, that sleeping as much as your body needs, would make you a better performer at everything you do during the hours that you are awake.  Then I came across Arianna Huffington’s book called Thrive.  In her book she talks about the importance of sleeping and what being sleep deprived did to her.  She also shared stories of top CEOs and high performers who were getting sick due to being sleep deprived.  This was not only eye opening to me, but it made perfect sense.  How the heck did I think I could go on sleeping only 2, 3, 4 hours a day.  It was only a matter of time before my body gave up just like it happened to Arianna when she collapsed while working at her desk and broke her jaw.  I was already giving major signs of being super sleep deprived.  I would fall asleep when watching a movie.  I would fall asleep on the bus.  Even on the subway train, I would fall asleep and if you are a New Yorker, you know you should not fall asleep on the subway train. 

As I started feeling my energy level go down, I still was not associating that it could be due not sleeping enough hours for my body to restore, detoxify and to regenerate its cells.  Yes, eating well is very important, but sleeping well is also very important.  Lately, there are a lot of studies being done about the importance of sleeping well.  As I started to listen to my body, I started paying attention to my sleeping habits.  They were horrible.  I knew that sleeping well was something I needed to work on. 

It improved and then when I had my child and I went back to work, my sleeping patterns got messy again.  At the time, I was in a job where my schedule used to rotate every three months.  Before, having a child, I used to pay little attention to my schedule, but when I became a parent, time really became of the essence. 

I decided that I would not longer continue a rotational schedule where three months I would go to bed about two or three in the morning and three months I would have to wake up at 4:00 in the morning.  That was not conducive for my health and my family.  So I made the decision to leave that job.  Fast forward, I work only the morning shift.  My sleeping habits have improved tremendously but I had to make a conscious decision to make sleeping-well a priority. 

Now, this is not to say that my sleep is perfect all the time.  I have mad tremendous improvement to my sleep but it is not perfect.  During this time that we are in quarantine at home, to my surprise, my sleep got disrupted for the first week that I have been at home.  However, I was able to recognize that and I decided to course correct.  I was falling on the trap of going to sleep very late at night and waking up late.  Sleeping late and waking up late doesn’t work for me.  I want to be up before my child is up.  I also want do my writing early in the morning.  And once the quarantine is over and I have to go back to work, I will just continue waking up early to go to work. 

So since I found myself getting sidetracked with my sleep, I made a conscious assessment about it. Going to bed early and waking up early is sustainable for me; going to bed late and waking up late is not. 

What works for you?  If going to bed early is what works then you know what to do.  If going to bed late is what works, you know what to do.  If you do not know what works best for you, do your own experiment.  Test out going to bed early and waking up early, and going to bed late and waking up late.  Make an assessment of how you feel on either case, then decide which one works best for you. 

This is not about being perfect but about making progress.  My goal is to go to bed by 9:00 pm every night.  I know that being in bed by 9:00 pm every single night may not happen every single night.  But being aware that this is my goal will allow me to make yes or no decisions about events that may have to keep me up past 9:00 pm.  Are they that important that the sleeping pattern that I am creating may be disrupted?  And think about it, it’s not just about a sleeping pattern; this is about living as healthy and well as we can.

I understand that sometimes we have schedules that don’t go in line with our ideal sleeping patterns.  For example when I used to work a rotational schedule, I used to crave a regular day schedule.  As much as I wanted to go to bed early and wake up early consistently, I could not because of my working schedule.  I did not beat myself over it and I did not do anything about it until I had my child.  If I new better at the time, I would not have waited until having my child to make sleeping-well a priority. 

When I had my child, I left my rotational schedule because it was not working with my new lifestyle.  Before my baby, I could sleep until late.  When I had my baby even if I went to sleep late, I had to be up by a certain time; so it’s needless to say that I felt tired when I was supposed to be fully present and energized for my child and my family.  

Find what works for you and adjust your time to it.  If you are in a position that you cannot adjust your time to sleep during the hours that will work best for you, make a plan to change that.  If you have people in your life that play an active and important role in your lifestyle, talk to them about how important sleeping well is for you and share all the benefits that sleeping well will produce in your life (your own life as an individual and your own life as a group).  Do some research of the benefits of sleeping well and have a list of all the benefits to share with the people in your life who will also be impacted by your sleep.    So here is to sleeping well and staying well. 

Sleeping well is not a luxury; it’s a must, if you want to thrive in life.  Don’t worry about being perfect on this, focus on making progress on this.  Find what works for you. 

“When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.”

~ Proverbs 3:24

God bless you & with love,

Querin