Just when I finally and successfully Ferberized myself to get a good night sleep – after hot and stressful (in a good way) summer – I was rudely ‘awakened’ by the fact that this past weekend was ‘fall back’ to PST and I’m worried it will throw me off my sleep schedule.
Did I throw a tantrum? No, I did not. Because I was elated that we get an extra hour of sleep this morning, albeit a ‘fake’ hour. Sunday’s 7 was Saturday’s 8.
It’s true: there’s always a silver lining. Seriously, there is nothing better than a good night sleep.
Okay, maybe a few things are better, but sleep is high up on the list. And at the risk of sounding cliché, sleep is super important.
My husband is a dentist and he did a several-week program at UCLA* to learn about sleep. And what he explained to me about sleep, I find fascinating. He learned all about how sleep affects your body – all of your organs are dependent on sleep to help them function properly through the day.
He explained it to me like this: Your body is like a computer. It has to be turned off during the night and then booted back up – system by system – as you go through various sleep cycles. And you have to go through all the sleep cycles to properly reboot. Therefore, if the cycle where your hard drive boots up – or let’s say your digestive system – is missed or out of synch, it’s not going work well during the day, and neither will the other systems that rely on it.
So it’s not just about waking up cranky with bags under your eyes. It’s about the health of your body. Poor sleep leads to a host of chronic conditions – obesity, diabetes, depression, liver disease, and coronary artery disease, plus it puts you at risk of strokes and heart attacks.
Get the picture? Yup, it’s important.
*Note: threw the UCLA thing in there, not as a brag, but so you know what I’m going to explain next is legit. I need a little credibility now and then — even though it’s second-hand credibility, I’ll take it how ever I can get it.
Five Things I did to Get Me to Sleep Through the Night
1.I got rid of electronics before bed.
Seriously. This was a problem. I would catch up on Instagram and Twitter or my newsfeed on my phone every night after I got into bed. So finally I ditched digital and went back to old-fashioned reading in the form of a book. It made a world of difference. On my nightstand right now: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. So good!
2. I listened to sleep meditations on YouTube or podcasts.
Most of them consist of a person with a soothing voice (some can be annoying, so be selective) who talks you through breathing techniques and relaxing your body muscle by muscle. One of my favorites is Sleep Easily by Shazzie. I’ve listened to it so many times I almost know it by heart. Warning: her voice is a little woo-woo, but it puts me to sleep like nobodies’ business.
3. I opened the window.
I love fresh air when I sleep.I have to have some form of it. Even when it’s freezing cold outside, I have the window open. I just pile on the blankets and stick my face out from the covers to breath in the cool air. Here’s an article that backs me up. Reason #3 is totally working. LOL.
4. I sprayed my pillow with a little lavender water.
Not only is it one of my favorite smells, research has found that it may be useful for treating anxiety, insomnia, depression, and restlessness – the panacea for all my ills.
5. I made my bed.Full disclosure: I didn’t always make my bed.
Call me lazy, and I’ll say you’re absolutely right. But now I make my bed – mostly because I love the decorative pillows I recently bought (in other words, I’m still lazy), and getting into a fully made bed is absolutely the best feeling. And this bed-making method is perfect for a gal like me.
“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”
― Robert Frost,
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening