Perhaps a good way to start this article is with the line “there’s no rest for the ______”. Choose the word that you feel best fills in that blank. I would pick the word “overstimulated”. Much of our society is overstimulated, overworked and overwhelmed. That gets in the way of a good night’s sleep. I’ve had my fair share of watching the hours tick by on the clock. Sometimes I have a conversation in my head that goes something like this:
“You have reviewed 4 different outcomes of this situation, and have worked out 4 different solutions. You have reviewed each solution 4 times from 4 different perspectives. It’s time to let it go and sleep.”
I’m sure I’m not alone in that type of thinking or the tossing/turning that goes along with it. My other big sleep challenge is FOMO. FOMO stands for the fear of missing out. Sometimes I will scroll through Facebook, jump over to Instagram, move to the weather app and then to the CBC news app. Wash, rinse, repeat. Something could have changed in the 5 minutes since I last checked Facebook, Instagram, the weather and the news. Thank goodness I didn’t think about writing this article before I went to bed last night. I never would have gotten to sleep. Ouch. Here’s the irony – if a comfort zone is a place or situation where one feels safe or at ease and without stress then this behaviour cannot be a comfort zone. Yet it’s where I have been comfortable in the past.
Pushing the limits of our comfort zones starts with self -awareness. That means an honest look at ourselves to see what is and isn’t working. Rest is the most important of the health tripod. Movement and nutrition are the other two legs that support good health. I don’t need to tell you that we don’t move as much when we’re tired. We also tend to grab calorie rich/nutrient empty foods to overcome the energy deficit that poor night’s rest leaves us with. Being well rested means we have a better chance at healthy movement and nutrition habits.
I totally believe that we, as adults, need 7 – 8 hours of rest a night. Many people have told me that they don’t need that much. My answer to that is prove me wrong by shutting down for 8 hours a night for one week. I know that for some it’s hard to sleep for 8 hours straight. I’m so grateful when it happens that I do the happy dance when my coffee is brewing. Try shutting down for 8 hours. Turn off all devices, the lights, and relax until you fall asleep. Try it for one week. If you like, keep a record of how long you slept for and how you felt the next day. If you’re really keen you can document if you ate well and moved around with that extra energy.
As a kid I had a strict bedtime. More than ever I’ve come to appreciate it. I’ve also come to appreciate the afternoon nap. Oh to be young again. Resting more might help with that.
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