I’m pretty slow to start the new year with my resolutions for change. It seems that each year, I am completely burnt out after the growing/harvest/preserving season then jumping right into the holiday season that by the time the new year begins, I only desire to sit and do nothing (ok, I want to chat on Twitter or take naps). And cook yummy food from all that I’ve put up!
I’ve been reading about what several others have been saying their resolutions are and for me, the only major things I need to change in my life this year is to get more exercise and more sleep! I have no problems eating what’s in my pantry as one big challenge I’ve seen people participate in. In fact, I try to live this way year round and am nervous we are going through our canned tomato and sauce supply way faster than I thought we would and I am trying to make the home-canned supply last til next summer! I’m sure it won’t at this rate.
I don’t need to challenge myself to do a 3 week jumpstart your diet challenge which is another big one I’ve seen written about to detox your body on a plant based diet. I eat a plant based diet and occasionally the very nutritious eggs from my own backyard chickens so this is a way of life for me, too. I also like to wait until springtime to do a liver cleanse, it’s too cold for me in the winter to do cleanses like that.
No, what I need to do (and began doing this past week) is something I saw written up on the Huffington Post called “Sleep Challenge 2010 – Women, It’s Time To Sleep Your Way To The Top, Literally.” Once I read that article, I knew I had to do it. I was resistant at first, I like going to bed between 12-1 am and sleeping in a bit in the morning but with an almost 6 year old boy as my daily alarm clock, I rarely get to sleep past 7 or 7:30 and that’s late for him. So I was getting around 6 or 6.5 hours of sleep each night. I have been dragging and some days, I’ve only gotten about 5.5 hours at night and that puts me over the cranky edge so I can’t function the way I want and need to.
I realize I have to get a minimum of 7 hours of solid sleep at night and preferably 8 hours of sleep every night to feel well. My son sleeps through the night for the past few years and even in his own room now. The only time he wakes us up at night is if he’s sick or had a bad dream. After suffering through several years of extreme sleep deprivation because of him, I should want to go to bed early and get 8+ hours of sleep every night! Why my resistance I wondered? I realized it’s because it’s “me time” for several hours in the evening. After we eat a family dinner, my husband does the bedtime routine with our son then has his guitar playing hour (or more) every night and I clean up and have things I catch up on, books I am reading or tv shows on Tivo to watch! I wind up waiting for my husband to watch certain shows with me and we seem to go to bed too late because of this. He always says he does better on 6 or 6.5 hours of sleep and if he sleeps longer than that, he’s dragging. I’m the other way around so I don’t believe him! Who can function well on 6 or 6.5 hours of sleep every night? Not me!
He is sort of doing this sleep challenge with me because consistent, solid sleep is so beneficial for your body in so many ways and he’s recovering from several weeks of some funky virus invading his body and doing strange things to him. Solid sleep also helps to prevent getting run-down and sick in the first place. Your immune system works better, you have more energy, you look younger and your mental state is in a much better place, too. There’s also evidence that not getting enough sleep makes you gain or retain weight and sufficient sleep helps you lose it! There really is not one downside to getting your “beauty sleep.” It is quite a challenge for me to get up to the 8 hour mark. I’m working on cutting back on my evening activities and getting more things done during the day.
This past week I’ve been aiming for 7-7.5 hours of sleep each night (by counting backwards from my 7 a.m. wake up time) and I feel good but still tired and dragging at some point in my day. Clearly a sign I need more sleep! Who knew? This week, I (and possibly Michael) will be trying for 8 whole, glorious hours of uninterrupted sleep each and every night. If I can do this, I will feel like superwoman and will be able to really increase my workouts and pretty much revolutionize my world! I like the info in this update from Arianna Huffington about what happened to her after finally getting those 8 hours of sleep each night.
I encourage anyone reading this to give this sleep challenge a try. Lawd knows we all need it!