Early to Bed, Early to Rise
Makes a Man Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise.” -Ben Franklin
My goal for June is to have a regular bedtime and wake-up time. I’m thinking that I should be in bed by 10:30 and up by 6:30. I have a few motivations for this:
1. I have been thinking about sleep, or lack thereof, for a while now. I was in Greenville, SC last week with my sister and her family. One night we watched an Oprah that she had dvr’d, and it was the episode about Bob Greene’s “20 Years Younger” book and program. In this book, Bob G focuses on four quandrants of feeling better- exercise, nutrition, skin care, and sleep. I’m not really an Oprah follower, generally speaking, but I do love to get inspired every once in a while with some of her shows and suggestions.
Oprah’s sleep guru said that we should all aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. Here’s the full article about the show (skip to page 7 for the sleep portion). One thing that caught my attention was his statement about how the invention of the light bulb has really changed our sleep habits. Now, with artificial light, we trick our brains into staying alert and churning, when they should really be powering down and getting ready to sleep. With this in mind, I think a big component of actually getting the 8 hours of sleep will be getting off my laptop a good 30 minutes or an hour before I go to bed. When I am online right before I go to bed, inevitably my mind is still turning a good bit when I try to fall asleep. So- power down the laptop, and start sending my mind and body the message that it is time to shut down for the night.
2. Let’s talk about how it feels to have even the tiniest head-start on your kids in the morning. I have worked long and hard to get my kids to sleep in until a decent hour. Originally this was so I could also sleep in as long as possible. And when I had one child and she took a morning nap, this worked out perfectly! She woke me up, we started our day together, then she went back down an hour or two later. Awesome! Then I get to take my shower, enjoy my coffee, and get myself in order for the rest of the day.
Now we’re on a different schedule. I have two kids, and both nap at 2:00 in the afternoon. If they wake me up, that means no shower and I pretty much hit the ground running. The mornings that I get even the littlest head start on them are always much better mornings. I can shower and eat my breakfast at a leisurely pace. I feel ready for them when they wake up. If there’s stuff that needs to go out to car so we can run an errand later, I can take it out there while they are still sleeping. (The lack of a driveway, plus carrying a one year old, means that getting myself and the kids AND our stuff out to the car is usually a big production. Props to me if I have already gotten those three bags of Goodwill stuff to the car, and am not trying to do that while carrying one child and prodding along the other).
3. Not to reference Oprah again, but Mr. Sleep Guru taught me something else. When you sleep, your brain makes leptin, which helps suppress your appetite. If you are sleep deprived, your body is lacking in leptin and you may compensate by overeating. I’ll get personal- if I am tired and sleep-deprived, the best-sounding thing to me is something sweet. A sugar pick-me-up, a jolt of energy. Effective? Yes, in the short term. A pleasant thing to depend on to get through the days? Noooope. If I can combat that tendency a bit by getting a better nights’ sleep- great! I’ll give it a try.
At this stage, I don’t really have any great reasons to not get a full night of sleep. My kids are sleeping through the night. I’m not pregnant and getting up to pee every hour. I don’t have a lot of stressful things to toss and turn over. So- why not get that leptin going, get a jumpstart on my kids in the morning, and let my body recharge at night?
June: the month to sleep.