How Can We Use this Information?
First off, think back to a time that you were really well rested. It may be on a vacation or holiday break, before the kids were born, while unemployed, or if you’re lucky, in the last week or two. Then answer these questions:
– How much sleep do you need to really feel your best?
– Are you getting that amount of sleep most nights?
– If not, how much more sleep time do you need?
Now, how are you spending the last couple hours before bed? Are you watching TV, or doing other hobbies that you could do at another time in order to get the sleep you need? If so, could you move this TV watching to another time, maybe using some recording device?
The biggest question though, the ‘Million Dollar’ question to ask yourself is: “Would I benefit more from getting more sleep and being healthier, or do I benefit more from watching TV in the evening?” Let me know your answer!
Unfortunately, being a sleep expert doesn’t make one immune to sleep difficulties. Having been a life-long good sleeper, all my sleep difficulties began with motherhood.
Many mothers in my naturopathic sleep medicine practice tell me that they stay up late so they can have some time to take care of tasks, talk to their partner and relax. Then they get up early with their child, which leaves them burning the candle on both ends. Nationally, 62% of parents report that they get less sleep than they need. As we’ve talked about in other posts, insufficient sleep can negatively affect mood, physical health and ability to function in many ways.
This is something I’ve struggled with myself. So this week, in the spirit of Mother’s Day, I’ve tried a new routine in order to give myself the gift of being well-rested. Shortly after my young daughter goes to sleep, I also go to sleep. The payoff has been waking up 1-2 hours earlier, and having some time all to myself. At that time of day I’m mentally sharp and full of energy, a great trade-off for those evening hours when I was so tired. The focused time is a wonderful way to start the day, whether it be spent on organizing the day, catching up email, yoga or meditation.
Though it seems like there just aren’t enough hours in the day for mothers, getting enough sleep makes the hours we do have so much better. Would this strategy work for you?
More information about Naturopathic Sleep Medicine can be found at www.naturalsleepmedicine.net