Weighty Matters

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Getting Rest

on April 25, 2012

I’ve always thought of myself as more of a night owl than a morning person.  I’m not even talking about my 20s and 30s when I’d go out to clubs with friends until 2, 3, 4 in the morning and then catch a few hours of sleep before getting up to go to work.  Even 15 years ago when I was in my late 30s, I’d stay up until 1 in the morning every night playing on the computer, surfing the ‘net, chatting with friends, etc.

I loved the days when I was a freelance writer and didn’t have to get up early to arrive at an office by 8:30 or 9 a.m.  I could make my own hours and sleep-in whenever I wanted.

In recent years, I’ve found that I get sleepy earlier than way back when.  Still, it’s usually between 11:30 p.m. and midnight before I shut off the light in my bedroom and fall asleep.  Every weekday, my alarm goes off at 6:45 a.m. so I can get to work before 9.  On weekends, I’m thrilled if I can sleep in — although making it until 8 a.m. constitutes “sleeping in” these days.  If I can’t sleep in, or even if I can, I love curling up on my recliner on a weekend afternoon for a short nap.

I’ve heard a lot over the last few years about the importance of getting enough sleep.  Too little sleep can affect our blood pressure, our hearts, how much weight we lose and a number of other things.  Seven or eight hours a night are the minimum recommendation.  I’ve been trying to pay attention to the guidelines.  I don’t really need to watch the 11 p.m. news, knowing I’ll catch up to anything truly important in the morning.  I can get through my evening routine more efficiently and still have time to read a bit before shutting out the light.

I honestly feel better when I hit between seven and eight hours instead of only six or six and a half.  I’m more focused at work and have more energy.  So, it’s a goal for me to sleep enough hours on more nights than less.

Then there’s nights like tonight when it’s around 9:15 and I’m ready to take the dogs out for their last potty trip, haul the recyclables to the curb, wash my face, brush my teeth and go to bed.   So that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

If eight hours are great, then nine hours of sleep tonight should be terrific!

4 responses to “Getting Rest

  1. hoperoth says:

    I predict that I will be sound asleep by 10pm tonight. :p

  2. pinkpelican says:

    About 5 years ago I passed the point at which I could pull an all nighter and function the next day. I can manage on as little as 4 hours of sleep, but I don’t like it.

    My natural rhythm seems to be that I start perking up around 9 or 10 pm at night, and if left to my own devices I’d go to bed at 6 am and get up around 2 pm, with my biggest bursts of creativity hitting around 10 pm to 6 am. I get that from my mom.

    However, since I’m married to an Early Bird and I have a day job that requires me to get out of bed around 5:45 am, I have recreated my sleep cycle. I find it’s generally not a wise idea for me to take naps or it’s a lot harder to fall asleep when I’m supposed to. And I have to be careful about reading at bed time … I’m so likely to get sucked into a really good book and then I’m all bright eyed & bushy tailed. Ditto with projects. Way too easy to get sucked in. I’ve learned that while I can sometimes let myself read for a while, it’s better to play Solitaire or Mahjong on my phone for a while when I get into bed. Gets me the last bit of “unwound” without seriously engaging my brain.

    I’ve seen a lot of those research bits and bobs that say insufficient sleep contributes to ill health, obesity, diabetes, the whole nine yards. I’ve never really followed the research to the original sources to get full context, but ultimately, if I can’t function, that can’t be healthy, can it? So I try to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night.

    I don’t always succeed, but I feel better when I do.

  3. Martha Andrews says:

    Dr Oz says it all of the time – getting enough sleep is super important to health and well being.
    9 Hours is optimal for me when it comes to sleep… but, oddly enough, 7 hours is my next choice… 8 hrs leaves me feeling kind of blah.

    I have an app for my iPad called Smart Alarm Clock… it records sleep disturbances, sleep cycles, AND it wakes you up at the optimum time (based on your sleep cycle and what time you set your alarm clock for). It also has a nice, soothing “go to sleep mode” where you can listen to the surf, or rain, or a forest, or whitenoise for the length of time you choose. You can wake up to neat sounds as well (I have ours set for surf and seagulls). I don’t know how it knows, but if I open my eyes five minutes before my alarm is set to go off, it will go off within 30 seconds… It’s pretty amazing! The downside to it is that the iPad has to be ON the bed (face down) all night, so I make sure I put it on Airplane Mode – just because I’m a freak and worried about having all that electrical activity next to my pillow all night!

    Sweet Dreams!

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