Sleep is Suddenly a Luxury I Grant Myself
Many years past when I started drinking more water, I developed a natural thirst for it but that only came after some time. Now I drink tons of water daily because it is a routine that is set in stone.
I, like many other men and women in my “era” of post 50, have struggled with sleep. I went to bed late, trying to multi-task and do way too much while at home since I was working full time. (That usually meant writing for my sideline until the wee hours)
Even with that going to bed late, I was still restless, and could barely get 4 to 5 hours of sleep in. I did not realize it was taking a toll on my body until I went to a nutritionist. He looked at me and told me that I have excellent “Mediterranean” skin, and that I am blessed. He could also look at me and tell I was plenty hydrated. Still, he looked at me with concern and asked how much sleep I get.
I told him the sad truth of tossing and turning, getting up frequently, and going to bed late and waking up early.
“Do you want to transform your life?” he asked. “Then get more sleep. Hit your bed at 9 pm the latest and read until you get tired. You will then sleep full nights. You need 7-8 hours a night at your age.”
I was shocked, but prepared to listen. Later that same week by coincidence, a health program I get from work sent around a tutorial about the importance of sleep to weight maintenance and overall health.
So I took the nutritionist’s advice and started going to earlier yoga, showering, and winding down with a book or music on my iPad in bed. Soon nine became late for me to go to bed. No Melatonin needed, no sleep-aids at all needed. I was allowing my body to wind down and relax naturally to prepare for sleep – something I had never done.
Magically, I was falling asleep and staying asleep for 8 full hours. (still with a minor wake-up or two though).
After a few weeks, I felt so much better. I felt less stressed, more energetic, and, yes, healthier. I was thinking more clearly and feeling less scatterbrained. My focus improved.
Now, a few months later I am accustomed to getting 8-9 hours of sleep, with the 9 hour stretches coming on weekends when I can sleep in.
I am finally looking forward to that wind-down time in bed, getting to bed earlier, (as I was not into television anyway) and I feel it is a luxury I am now granting myself because it is making a remarkable difference.
So the sign above is true.
The little complication came when we set our clocks back an hour this past weekend. Suddenly 9 pm seemed a bit late. (Well it should have seemed that because it was 10 pm rolled back!) With it getting dark earlier, on non-Yoga nights I may be going into my bed at 8 or 8:30, and falling asleep by nine. If that happens, and yes it did the first few nights, I will adjust. I am just enjoying my rest lately too much to try to mess with it.
So call me the old lady who is in bed by nine, and sometimes earlier. Then take a good look at how refreshed I look. (Someone at work asked me if I was using new makeup or foundation – I use neither – so it was noticed.)
My husband and I are into natural ways to stay healthier, and there is nothing more natural than re-training your body to get more sleep. Try it. It’s my tip for the year.