“Fatigue is the best pillow”…or so says Ben Franklin. But in our house sleep is metered out in erratic increments. Not so much for me-I guard my sleep jealously, knowing I’m unfit company when fatigued. But my husband contends that he doesn’t need more than a couple of hours at a time. He can “snooze” at any time of day, and swears his 20-minute nap is “just the same” as several hours of sleep. When we were first married it came as quite a shock to realize that I needed a full 8 hours and he operated with at most half of that. What made matters even more perplexing was that he seemed genuinely surprised that anyone needed that much sleep! After many years of cajoling, nagging, and even attempting to educate him as to the possible negative side effects of continual sleep deprivation–I give up.
The average person requires a full 8 hours of sleep in order to function optimally and maintain overall well-being. A recent CDC report reveals that we are sleeping fewer and fewer hours, leaving us at risk for disease and accident. A percentage of respondents to this extensive survey reported falling asleep while driving. According to the Better Sleep Council, 65% of us lose sleep due to stress, but then again, more sleep relieves stress. That’s a cycle to consider!
Robert Mack, author of Happiness From the Inside Out suggests that our busy lifestyles and dependence on multi-tasking contributes to rising stress levels. He further suggests that we pay attention to what we need for fun and scale back on tasks and responsibilities we don’t enjoy and that can be set-aside for a while. Instead, take the time to do something that brings pleasure—taking a walk, more time outdoors, anything that brings you peace and satisfaction.
Today is the first full day of summer. Longer daylight hours and warmer evenings naturally contribute to delayed bedtimes and less sleep for everyone. If you notice faulty memory or recall and trouble staying on task, take a little inventory of your own recent sleep history. If you don’t get too excited thinking about sleep loss and cognitive impairment, I’ll bet this will get your attention. Sleep isn’t just about brain function. Reputable studies indicate that chronic sleep loss contributes to diabetes and obesity, so in other words, sleep is an important guard against chronic disease.
My daughter, a busy mother of two preschoolers and an ER nurse working a couple of nights a week, experiences irregular sleep patterns. She occasionally uses Melatonin for a slight assist in regulating her sleep cycles. You might think about trying the same if you have trouble falling asleep. You also might try putting a little extra time into de-cluttering your bedroom and preparing your nest for a more relaxing sleep environment (that means removing the TV).
My husband will undoubtedly read this post. I wonder what he’ll think about? And as for you? I hope you’re getting enough sleep. Zzzzzzzzz