I consider myself a night owl, and I certainly do stay up late! But once I'm in bed, it's hard to get me out. As I mentioned in Monday's post, I'm a big fan of the snooze button.
I'm good about it, though. I'm responsible when I am employed. I make myself get to bed by eleven at the latest so I can be up and ready for work. But when I don't have a reason to get up, I love staying up late. I find I am at my most creative late at night. Many of my blog posts are written in the wee hours of the morning. The urge to scrapbook or make cards also seems to emerge late at night. And if I'm working on a project like knitting or sewing, I just hate to stop! And so I stay up late.
But, once I do drag myself off to my room and crawl in bed, it's the best! Snuggling into a cozy, well made bed with fresh sheets and a comfy duvet...zzzzzzzzzzzz....
Whoops, sorry about that!! What's really sad, though, is that for many people, a good night's sleep is as elusive as a pot of gold. As with many exciting adult issues (like eating right and exercising) there are many reasons why people don't get enough restful sleep, but the stresses of modern life definitely play a major factor. Anyone who's juggled any combination of a job, family, social life and volunteer commitments knows only too well how few hours there are in a day.
I know, I've been there. A few years ago I found myself involved in way too many activities. I was frazzled, and spent many an hour at 3:00 AM staring at the ceiling, exhausting but unable to turn off my brain (isn't that the worst!). And so, I made a decision to give up all volunteer commitments. For at least one year, I would take the time to see what my life would be like if I just let it happen.
One thing that happened was that I slept better. I look back now and I don't know how I did it, and the scary thing is, as young professionals went, I was actually less involved than most. And I didn't have kids. Granted, there are many people who no doubt thrive under pressure and sleep like babies the minute their heads hit the pillow. That's good for them, but so many people are not like that, and those people are tired, darn it! And so, while I realize that most people won't or can't give up their extra commitments, there are some things that anyone can do to work towards a good night's rest. I found two excellent resources which are listed below:
- The Mayo Clinic has a great list of suggestions for combating what they refer to as "sleep maintenance insomnia," that is, when you wake up and can't get back to sleep. Among their suggestions are establishing a quiet, relaxing bedtime routine, keeping clocks out of sight, and avoiding daytime napping.
- I really enjoyed Canadian Living's article on 5 Steps to a Sleep-Friendly Bedroom. This article covers things that should be common sense but for some reason don't usually get put into practice, such as lighting, and a proper mattress. They also stress the importance of "unplugging" your room, that is, not allowing computers, televisions, and cell phones to distract sleep. They refer to Dr. Michael Breus as saying "the bedroom should be a place associated with sleep and intimacy." Should be obvious, but as anyone who's ever finished a report in bed knows, it's a lesson worth repeating.