Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sleeping Longer and Better

Sleep.



It is good for you. 

Get seven to nine hours of it daily.

We have heard this health advice over and over again throughout the years.

I am a total believer of getting enough sleep.

This is the one thing I intentionally do for my health every single day without missing a beat.


I wasn't always like that.

I knew I had to do something about my sleeping pattern when I finally admitted to myself that:

I was often tired.
I was heavily dependent on caffeine to get through the day.
I woke up in the middle of the night and chose to indulge in some form of media.
I woke up with very little energy.
I got drowsy during the day.


Today, I regularly sleep at 10pm and wake up at 6am.

It took me a while to get there. I had to enforce changes with the way I approached sleep.

These changes are so worth it!


Here are some of the things I did (and continue to do) to sleep longer and better.

Develop the discipline of a sleeping at the same hour every night. I knew that my body was desperate for consistency and I had to nurture that need.

Minimize the intake of caffeine. I used to drink at least three cups of bold coffee everyday. I am now down to only 1 cup a day, in the morning.

Give importance to hydration. Water is the only liquid our body truly needs. I have vowed to take better care of myself by drinking at least eight glasses of water every day. I promise that you will feel more well-rested if you follow this one rule.

Exercise daily. I totally swear by exercise as the best way to relieve muscle tension. I also make sure I include a good amount of stretching. One thing you must keep in mind: it's best to exercise in the day time instead of in the evenings. Late physical activity makes me stay up later than usual.

Carefully schedule "social time-outs." I love being in touch with people I care about. I love opportunities of spending time with them.

However, there is a bit of a dilemma. I have A LOT of people that I care about. I am also married to a wonderful man who loves people just as much as I do (if not more).

This results in a jam-packed schedule. I consider time with people a blessing. But I am going to admit to you today, a hectic calendar sometimes physically and mentally wears me out.

I get less sleep. I become more cranky.

Because of this, I periodically enforce "social time-outs" in order to allow my body and mind to catch up. When I get a few days of disconnection time, I feel like I connect better with people when I am available. Thankfully, my friends completely understand that I am this way. Which makes me love them more!

Invest in a comfortable bed. There is no question about it -- a good mattress matters when it comes to getting a good night's sleep.  It is important to look for a mattress that allows you to relax but that also supports the normal S curve of your back.

There is no one perfect mattress for everyone. You will need to take some time to try as many models as possible and see what best fits you.

Understand why God wants all of us to rest.  I strongly believe in sleep as an act of giving God the time to do a work in us. Sleep is when God can reach our spiritual being and provide instruction and insight.

Resting every day also reminds me that I do not need to perform for my Father in order for Him to be pleased with me. He loves me regardless of what I do during my waking hours.


Matthew 11:28
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

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