Several days ago my husband was suffering big-time from back pain, was very tired, grumpy, and generally not his normal upbeat, energetic, happy self. He had been through several days without enough sleep…trying to “catch up” by napping, hoping to sleep late on the weekend, and …. well, you get the picture. I’m guessing it’s probably all too familiar, right?
A few minor changes the past few days – and this morning, he was up and at’em! It was like whoever had kidnapped my real husband (and replaced him with this other guy who looked like him, but wasn’t) had magically returned him to us! Yay!
What made the difference? A couple nights of good, solid sleep! As a family we had all made a couple of minor tweaks, and the power of those small (but super important) changes was remarkable when he got up rarin’ to go for the day!
Here’s what we did:
Earlier dinner time. Earlier bed time. Turn off the TV. No news.
And (drum roll please) no cell phones or tablets in the bedroom!
We get into routines and habits in our lives and we aren’t even conscious of the impact they have on us. Sometimes all it takes is to take a step back, really look at our choices from moment to moment, and make a few seemingly minor changes that can multiply into HUGE benefits!
You know what? You aren’t going to be getting any awards for being an A-#1 sleeper. No one will give you a letter of commendation or a raise because you got 7 hours of good quality sleep. We think that we are too busy to sleep that much, or that we have to check our email one more time before we turn off the light and pull up the blankets.
I’m hoping to change your mind about that.
There is a ton of research that shows the amazing power of sleep to change our mood, our effectiveness, our creativity, and our long-term health. Here are just a few benefits of good sleep (the right quantity AND quality) that I hope will get your attention:
- Hormonal balance
- Faster weight loss
- Better memory
- Lower level of inflammation in your body
- Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease
- Better relationships
- Less pain
- Stronger bones
- ….and the list goes on.
Maybe you’re saying: “Yeah, I’ve heard all this before, but you just don’t get my situation!” Or, how about this one: “The only time of day I have to catch up on Facebook and Instagram is right before bed after the kids are asleep and now you’re asking me to set aside my phone?”
Hey, I totally get it! Believe me – I’m not the queen of sleep or anything close to it. I started struggling with sleep about 12-13 years ago. I was SO frustrated! But, recently I’ve been getting good, solid quality sleep again – because I’ve started making better choices during the day and in the evening.
I started with small, incremental changes like these…
Keeping the same bedtime (and wake time) every day.
No more than 2 cups of coffee a day (and never after noon for me!)
Morning walks every day….nothing major, but just getting out to move.
Being intentional about getting natural sunlight, which is easier in Texas than in some parts of the country 😉
This and a few other things have made a huge difference for me. I hope you will make a commitment to start doing some things differently so that your body can do its job at night – what God designed it to do – refresh, restore and rebuild. You are worth it!
I’ve created a simple “Sleep Sanity Checklist” that has only 7 things (there are soooo many more) that will improve your sleep – if you actually do them! It’s free, and if you’d like a copy go here and grab yours.
Originally published at www.edisowers.com. Edi is a personal life/leadership coach who helps working Christian women focus on the things that matter most to them and to balance the competing demands of family and career.