I have long known that I need more sleep than most people.
True confession: No matter how many hours I get in the night, I sleep walk out of bed each morning, no matter how early or how late. I nod off at parties (you’ve all seen me!). When I was going thru the worst of menopause, I’d sneak out to my car at lunch and go into a deep coma for 45 minutes. I can nap on a hard wooden floor, no problem. My husband calls me ‘the incredible sleeping woman’. (He thinks it’s funny, but I know it’s true).
People might speculate that it’s because I have an active lifestyle with teaching/leading fitness and yoga, running 3x per week, etc. I think that all of those things give me a good, deep sleep at night. And I just need a lot of sleep.
So what about sleep?
Sleep is an interesting point of discussion, don’t you think? Sometimes we ask, ‘how was your night’ and we get the shrug and sense that people aren’t sleeping well, and are trying not to be upset about it. Yet we know that sleep deprivation leads to car accidents, relationship troubles, poor job performance and job related injuries, memory problems and mood disorders. Recent studies also suggest sleep disorders contribute to heart disease, diabetes, obesity and mental illness.
“Too often, not getting enough sleep is seen as a badge of honour in our society.” Dr Charles Samuels, Canadian Sleep Society
Does this ring true to you?
We know that sleep is just as important as all the other things we do to be healthy: exercise, nutrition, productivity, etc. Yet somehow, we don’t give it it’s due. We burn the candle at both ends as we try to deliver on responsibility and commitments. Sleep seems to be the easiest thing to short change.
My naturopath once asked me what was going on in my self beliefs that led me to my then-schedule of running early morning boot camps, working all day and training clients/teaching classes every evening. That question was pivotal for me. I now try hard to balance my days (just 1 early morning each week).
I guess we should think of sleep in the same way as charging our cell phones. It’s a give and take. We can’t maintain a sleep deficit for long. If we do, our bodies get sick and then we have to rest.
Did you know that we roll through four to five 90-minute cycles in our sleep each night?! There are 2 forms of sleep: REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and NREM (Non Rapid Eye Movement). We dream during REM and that takes up to 25% of your slumber, stretching into longer periods in the 90 min cycles as you go thru the night. This is why we notice our dreams more in the morning, fun stuff!
Dreaming permits us to be quietly and safely insane every night.” Dr Randy Gardener (Neuro-scientist).
Think about your sleep habits. I am a big believer in the mid afternoon nap. 30 – 45 minutes to let the tension ease out of my back and hips, release the busy thoughts of the day, take a siesta! NASA actually did an intensive study that showed a 26-minute nap in mid afternoon improved a pilot’s cognitive performance by more than 34%. That’s enough validation for me!
Hope you sleep well tonight! Do everything you can to prepare for a good night’s sleep: unplug from electronics, take a bath, stretch, read a book and settle in!
ps let me know your techniques to get a better night’s sleep!