Sleep – It’s important

I could not think of another way to say it, but yes, Sleep is Important!

I just finished up asleep-icon-1 course on the impact of sleep. We generally do not give sleep the attention or validate its extreme impact on our daily lives. One thing that permeated the research and material was that we often downplay our lack of sleep as no big deal.  “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”

Sleep is so vital to our minds and bodies to be healthy and just maintain homeostasis.

Sleep operates in 4 layers.

  1. The light sleep (non-REM 1), like “taking off” in a plane, still aware of the ground, can see the cars and people, going up. It is entirely possible to land quickly at this stage, like a jolt even.
  2. The 2nd stage is a little deeper (non-REM 2), still on our way! This stage creates the homeostasis needed for the real work to happen, lowering body temperature, calming the mind and body functions.
  3. 3rd stage (non-RED 3) is the beginning of some hard work, body repairs! This is the place where we tune up, heal, clean out our chemicals, and reboot bodily functions. We need this to not only heal from sickness but whatever else we do to our bodies daily and start fresh in the morning.
  4. 4th stage is dreaming (REM). This is vitally important to our mental health. We dream to organize and sort our thoughts, events and daily lives. We need to figure out where it all goes. If we miss this part, we are often confused, irritable and forgetful. Some things will not make sense.

sleep-cycle-infographic-redim

All these stages cycle. Those cycles serve a purpose too. If we don’t get enough sleep we might be missing the most important part, like putting the oil back in the engine after a tune up or putting your files back in the drawer instead of a stack on the desk. The work is not quite finished when sleep is cut short. We need all the bits!

The recommended hours of sleep for adults is 7 HOURS minimum…. MIN.I.MUM. 

Here is the chart from the CDC about recommended hours by age. Children needs lots more just because they are growing; creating brain cells and bones and skin and immune systems, etc.

How much sleep you need changes as you age. CDC.gov

Age Group Recommended Hours of Sleep Per Day
Newborn 0–3 months 14–17 hours (National Sleep Foundation)1
No recommendation (American Academy of Sleep Medicine)2
Infant 4–12 months 12–16 hours per 24 hours (including naps)2
Toddler 1–2 years 11–14 hours per 24 hours (including naps)2
Preschool 3–5 years 10–13 hours per 24 hours (including naps)2
School Age 6–12 years 9–12 hours per 24 hours2
Teen 13–18 years 8–10 hours per 24 hours2
Adult 18–60 years 7 or more hours per night3
  61–64 years 7–9 hours1
  65 years and older 7–8 hours1

If you have struggles with getting to sleep, staying asleep or even sleeping too long (there is such a thing), you can get help for that. Some of us may think,

  • “but I feel fine on 4-5 hours”
  • “I can’t sleep longer than X hours. I just wake up.”
  • “I don’t have time for that!”

We must make time for our sleep. Everything else will suffer if we do not. We set our own circadian rhythm, which is how, when and how long we sleep and are awake for. We can train ourselves to get healthy sleep. It requires consistency and diligence. This is a case where “21 days make a habit” might actually apply.

How!? How do we adjust our sleep schedule and have good sleep hygiene?

I have listed some suggestions according to the stage of sleep it relates to

  1. Create a sleep routine.
    1. Same bedtime every night, do things that wind you down, like shut down the house (lock doors, check lights), change your clothes, take a shower, wash your face, brush your teeth, meditate, listen to relaxing music, talk to your partner, read a book. Tell your body “it is time to sleep.”
    2. No caffeine at least 6-8 hours before.
    3. Don’t eat at least 2 hours before.
    4. NO ELECTRONICS (seriously, it messes with your sleep)
  2. -4. Keep your room cool, not too cold or too warm. Your body temperature cools when you sleep.
    1. Keep your lights low.
    2. Keep noise down and/or sleep with white noise to filter out noises.
    3. Be comfortable.
    4. Avoid interruptions

RESOURCES.

This is a list of great resources I found on healthy sleep. There are more, but this is a good start

Body satisfaction

Being ok with your body is hard business. Our culture seems to identify the nature of the body as aesthetic. Our value, worth and overall acceptance is heavily reliant on what our body looks like. Though, our bodies are not meant to be wholly valued on it’s appearance. Bodies do lots of things! They carry our brains around, which are the majority of who we are, our thinking and personality. They make us capable of doing things, going places, caring for others. What we look like can not change all the things your body is capable of. Body satisfaction is not what you look like, it is feeling satisfied with the way your body is overall.

I have read a few articles recently about body satisfaction. One was on Ravishly.com about a woman who said she was happier “fat.” Which she means is her focus was on her family and her interests rather than her appearance. Her main point was thin does not equal happy. Happy = happy regardless of your size.

Another was in the Counseling Today (January 2015) about body satisfaction in professional women. Having a healthy perception of your body, it’s capabilities, it’s purpose and relation to your own needs and desires leads to an overall psychological, emotional and physical healthy self. The summary of the article was that women with body satisfaction tend to see their bodies are capable not merely attractive. Their body is more important than societal ideal because that ideal was improbable. They did not feel like they had to fit into an altered and impossible idea of beauty. Their bodies were also less important than societal standards in that they do not judge themselves and their bodies merely on the size or shape of it. Being “attractive” was not their primary value. They also could attribute some spirituality to their body acceptance in that they were “given” a certain body in which to live. They expected themselves to accept their body as it was, not fight against nature or how they were made.

Many women have some sort of body dissatisfaction at some point in their lives.  Every women’s magazine has an article on low calorie recipes or burn fat exercise or how to look more attractive. Women are bombarded with the “evidence” of our societal beauty. We are not just how our bodies look. We are whole beings. Our bodies are vessels for us, thinking, feeling, caring, doing people. Our bodies are important in more ways than how they appear.

  • How you think about your body?
  • What does it do for you?
  • How important is how you look compared to the performance of your body?
  • What do you do to take care of your body?
  • How does your body care for you?

Overwhelmed!

I have been feeling this way lately, work, school starting, home projects, weeds. There is a lot. The to do list is never ending. What do you do when you feel overwhelmed? This could be the to do list, dealing with another person, managing your own emotions. There are many ways to feel overwhelmed.  overwhelmed

What are your symptoms? Do you start to forget things, become more irritable, sleep less, more headaches, body aches, feel sick, yell, throw things, cry? Anytime you notice your behavior changing due to external circumstances, it would be a good time to reign it in and examine it. What is going on?

Write it out. What is going on that is causing the feeling of being overwhelmed? Do you have too many things to do? Have you taken on too many responsibilities? Is money or time too tight? Are you taking on the responsibility for too many people? Perhaps you are allowing someone to take advantage of you, hurt you, use you or someone you love.

My first suggestion would be to take some time to list out your responsibilities and essentials. Often people feel overwhelmed when they are not managing their time well.  Using a calendar, schedule and making appointments (even for exercise, meals, and cleaning). If you make time for your duties and things you want to do, it can be easier to figure out where to put it all.

checklist.jpgThe important and urgent items would need to be first. Those with specific dead lines (work, kids to school, bills, meals). Many things are important with no specific dead line (exercise, grocery shopping, cleaning, family time). Start with those important things. You need to focus on your self first. If you find that there are several items still on the list, not under important, what should you do with them? Get rid of them, move them to a later day/date when you have more time, delegate to someone else?

If you are feeling overwhelmed and frustrated you will not be effective. You might need to give yourself 5 minutes to do some deep breathing, take a short walk on your break at work, get more rest.  Take care of yourself first so that you can think clearly and calmly about what needs to be accomplished. Some things might not be necessary, but feel important to you. What is really important?

Treat yourself as you would others

I know, the Golden Rule. “Treat others as you would like to be treated.”  When I hear this I think, be kind, courteous, patient and understanding. Generally, other people will also treat you that way. If you are a jerk and rude, people will be rude to you.

What I am talking about is self care. I am a mother. I tend to put my family first. I put the things I want to do at the end of the list. Sometimes. Sometimes, it’s important that I do certain things. I also try to take care of myself as if I were my own child (or husband). That means, if I am hurt or in pain, I go to the doctor. I get regular check ups at the dentist. I get enough sleep and eat healthy. There are all the things I make my children do to be healthy and happy. Plus, love, affection and fun.  How many of you don’t do these things for your self?o-kindness-facebook

I have encountered numerous clients who treat themselves as non-entities. What they need does not matter. If they are hurting they do not seek assistance. They suffer. If they are stressed, they don’t take the time to manage it or deal with it. Rest, food, clean living space, kind friends, etc are not priorities. They just don’t deem themselves worthy of proper self care.

Would you allow a child to go without any of those things? Someone you LOVE? If your (or any) child was hungry, would you not do what it takes to get him/her fed? Make sure they were safe and cared for? People outrage over neglected and abused children. We are all children. We all need the same kinds of basic care. We should do more than shove our needs to the side as if they do not matter.

They matter. YOU MATTER. Take as much time for your self as you would to care for someone you love.