March 31st 2015

Snuggle Down – The Month of Sleep: March 31st, 2015

And that’s a wrap for Motivation March.  I’m proud of the “resistance training” (a.k.a. dangerous snack avoidance) and I’ve learned from the exercise challenge (not every day).  The final outcome, in my mind, was that I’ve learned I’m actually able to have willpower, if I practice.  Much like most things, building a habit means working hard at first until it becomes second nature.  I’ve “downed” my “addiction” to 5 weaknesses, and now I’ve decided to 5Down one (chips) forever.

There is a certain Judge who likes to remind us that one should never say never or always, so I guess I should say I will refrain from the consumption of chips to the best of my ability with the intention of never eating them again, if possible.

Next on the self-improvement journey, then, is SLEEP.  April will be the month of sleep.

I’ve been poking around the Internet, lately, and I’ve found some great lists for helping with sleep.  This brochure helpfully admonishes insomniacs not to ruminate before (or in) bed.  Thanks.

One thing I think almost everyone agrees on is that most first worlders don’t get enough sleep, nor do we particularly value it.  I loved the Siesta when I was in Uruguay, and it was considered weird to not shut one’s store, home, business, whatever, and take an afternoon snooze.  I cannot imagine this idea ever gaining traction in Canada.

Everyone I know, including me, is always complaining of fatigue.  We work long hours, we’re too busy, and we don’t prioritize sleep.  It would be rather odd to hear someone exclaim “gosh! I’m so well-rested!”

And yet, articles about the value of sleep are everywhere.    Apparently, Ariana Huffington considers it her secret weapon, and has compiled a list of her 16 favourite articles on the benefits of sleep.  Among other things, being well-rested makes you:

healthier

smarter

more emotionally stable

better at your chosen athletic endeavour

make better choices

Or, to quote TIME magazine:

It’s nature’s panacea, more powerful than any drug in its ability to restore and rejuvenate the human brain and body. Getting the recommended seven to eight hours each night can improve concentration, sharpen planning and memory skills and maintain the fat-burning systems that regulate our weight. If every one of us slept as much as we’re supposed to, we’d all be lighter, less prone to developing Type 2 diabetes and most likely better equipped to battle depression and anxiety. We might even lower our risk of Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis and cancer.”

Whoa.

So where to start?  Well, I consulted a few articles and checked out what we already do.  I should preface this by saying that Mike could fall asleep on a bed of nails with a drunken frat boys party in the background and Disney-worthy light show dancing on his eyelids.  He’s typically asleep within 2-5 minutes of turning out his light.  Last night, after several hours of skiing, he was out cold in about 30 seconds.

I, on the other hand, need a precise temperature, a totally dark room, a neatly made bed with no wrinkles, a white-noise machine, and I still take upwards of an hour (on good days) to fall asleep.  I’ve been like this as long as I can remember.  Solomon was lucky enough to inherit this gem of a trait from me.  Fun fact: he and Max used to have sleepovers when they were about 2 and 6.  Max = Mike, Solomon = Me. Solomon, being precociously verbal without the sense to match his vocabulary would start wailing about 30 minutes into many of these fun nights because “I’m still talking and Max won’t answer me any more!” Max, clone of Mike, slept through the talking, the howling, and the calming down.  Sometimes he even slept through Solomon clambering over him to come tell us.

I have had the joy of sleep medication to rely on for the past few years (not daily, but total bliss).

So, our list of what we think we should do (and have both agreed to) is as follows:

1. A set lights-out time (10:30 pm) and a set wake-up time (6:30 am is when our alarm goes off).  Every day.  We’ll allow about 30 minutes leeway on occasion.

2. No caffeine after 4:30 pm.

3. No alcohol after 7:30 pm.

4. Bedroom around 15-19 degrees (c).

5. No napping unless it’s brief and finished before 5:00 pm.

6. No heavy snacks in the evening (after 6:00 pm)

7. No exercising after 7:30 pm.

8. –> We have had a difference of opinion on the topic of electronics before bed.  I will be foregoing electronics within 1 hour of sleep (ie: 9:30 pm).  He is going to continue to use this App he swears by – it basically dims your screen and yellows it to promote sleepiness.  I’m okay with this compromise because, well, he’s indulging me in every other regard and he really has no need to.

9. I’m going to listen to some new-agey wacky meditation-type stuff.  I will give you a link when I have one…this whole concept is giving me the hee-bee gee-bees, but it supposedly works, so I’m going to give this the old college try.

I will let you know how it goes.

Day 151 scorecard: 755 down, 1070 to go

 

 

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