Friday, January 18, 2013

Be your Best Self! Part III: Sleep

This series of posts is all about being the best person that you can be without comparing yourself to others. Is the person you look at in the mirror each morning really the best that person you can be? Most of us have room for improvement, and most of us want to improve. If you haven't seen my previous two posts in this series, check them out:

Tip #3 for becoming our best self is sleep. So what does sleep have to do with becoming our best self? Well, here's what I've found. If' I've gotten the sleep I need I'm a happier person. I'm a better Mom. I'm more patient. Slower to anger and quicker to forgive. I've learned that sometimes I have to sacrifice some things that I want to do in order to get the sleep I need. But it's worth it. And I've been a lot happier since I learned this and my family and home has been happier too.

  1. Get enough sleep but not too much. Enough sleep for most of us is between 7 and 8 hours. You may need more and you may need less. So what's wrong with too much? Well if you do a search on it on google, it will tell you all kinds of medical side affects caused by too much sleep. But my reason is pretty simple. Too much sleep means you don't have as much time in the day to accomplish good. And accomplishing good is another important part of becoming your best self. What's wrong with too little? Do I need to even say it? We've all experienced our grumpy, ornery selves when we don't get enough sleep...those selves are not our best selves.
  2. Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy and wealthy and wise. It's true (well at least some of it...I don't know about the wealthy part...). But it really makes a difference. I used to stay up late after the kids had gone to bed because I felt like that's the only time I could get anything done that I wanted to do. The result was I'd wake up late, be scrambling the whole day to make up for it and then once again have to stay up late to feel like I could get anything done. It's a vicious cycle and it made me unhappy. When I learned the secret about getting up early and going to bed early it really did make a difference. Now there's always exceptions of course: i.e. new babies, vacations, maybe even weekends...but if you can discipline yourself (even if your not a "morning person" like me) to go to bed early and get up early most days, I promise in the long run it will make a difference. 
  3. Interruptions to sleep happen...especially when you're a mom! Crying kids with bad dreams, sickness, accidents, etc...I could go on with the list of interruptions that we've had just in the past week! So here's what I've learned about the interruptions. When taking care of them, speak softly, keep lights dimly lit (or off if possible) and keep a calm composure. Whatever you do, don't get riled up! When you get upset, it gets your heart rate up and your blood pumping and will take you forever to fall back to sleep (believe me I speak from experience). So take care of what needs to  be done (leaving the details for morning) and then go right back to sleep. And then as you're falling asleep be careful to keep your mind from thinking of everything you need to do in the morning...otherwise you'll be up all night thinking about it.
I have the perfect story for this week about interruptions to sleep because we had quite a week last week! My husband was out of town on a business trip (which always makes it harder to fall asleep for me). On top of that my little one got sick right after he left. So we did what we call "sick boy couches" where we both sleep in the living room on the couches so I can take care of him in the night if he needs anything. So already my sleep was being disrupted several times every night. Well he started to feel better by Thursday, but then my older boy got sick with a fever that night so the little one went to sleep in his bed and the big one traded for the sick boy couch. That was supposed to be the night Brandon was coming home. But it was a huge snow storm and his plane had mechanical problems and was delayed. I stayed up worrying about that until just after midnight when he was supposed to have landed. Finally I fell asleep on the couch next to the sick boy around 1 a.m. Then just before 2 a.m. I wake up to bloody murder screaming. My little boy was in the kitchen terrified cause he couldn't find me in my bed. He had a bloody nose in the middle of the night, had tried to take care of it himself and had run out of toilet paper and couldn't find me. I went to take care of him in the bathroom. I had to turn on all the lights to see where the blood had spilled all over the carpet (because I knew it would stain it by morning). He's still in the bathroom crying uncontrollably because he doesn't think his nose will stop bleeding (he gets really bad ones) and there's blood all over his new pajamas...In walks my husband from his week long trip to find the house in a total uproar. The sick boy had woken up by then and was wide awake on his sick boy couch reading a book at 2 a.m. All the lights were on in the house. Blood splatters all over the carpet and his wife with the youngest in the bathroom screaming with a bloody nose. Welcome home dear! Don't even ask how my week was! :) Well the story has a great ending. We got the bloody nose stopped. The youngest went back to sleep in his bed. Cleaned up the carpets. Stuck the sheets and bedding to soak in the tub until morning. Wished the sick boy on his couch goodnight. Brandon took over for me on the other sick boy couch and I got to sleep the rest of the night on my nice, soft, cozy bed! Hurrah for good husbands. And hurrah for a good night's sleep.

How about you? Do you keep sleep a priority? Or are you still working on this one? Happy Frugal Friday everyone and have a great weekend.

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