Home business, home education and health challenges: what makes us tic?

Archive for the ‘sleep’ Category

Getting enough sleep – part 2

It’s a funny thing, how information seems to filter into the conscious world in themes. Completely without intent or effort, not long after writing the post about getting enough sleep, I discovered this article. Essentially, the author refers to anecdotal and historical evidence, as well as the results of scientific studies, to suggest that perhaps sleep is less important than previously supposed. Specifically: do we really need eight solid hours of sleep every single night? The article points out that many cultures had a sleep pattern of four hours of sleep, two hours of restful wakefulness, and another four hours of sleep.

The fact that we believe we need eight hours of solid sleep actually leads to anxiety when people wake up in the middle of the night and battle to fall asleep again. Believing that this wakefulness is harmful to their health makes them panic, making sleep and relaxation far more elusive.

My own experience has shown me that I can cope fairly well on fewer hours of sleep. Both my husband and I do fairly well with a significant nap (two hours or more), followed by a good block of focused work, and then another good block of sleep (four hours or more).

I must admit that for me, the jury is out. I know I don’t really get enough sleep, but perhaps I’m doing better than people think, and that’ll have to do for now. We shall see. As long as I have Tre En En, I’m okay!

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Getting enough sleep.

One thing I really battle with is getting enough sleep. Between home school, freelance work, house work and dawdling, I rarely get to bed before midnight. A big part of the problem is that, because I always go to bed so late, I always think I have time to get to urgent stuff “later”. I’ll just stay up until the work is done, or wake up early to meet deadlines.

This sometimes backfires, and I end up falling asleep before the work is done, or I oversleep and don’t get up in time. My clients are accommodating, my creditors less so: if I don’t work, I can’t bill. If I don’t bill, I don’t get paid, and then I can’t pay my bills.

As a result, I tend to be a stress-bound zombie, tired and overwhelmed by what I haven’t achieved yet.

Even so, I like the fact that I meet deadlines and will move heaven and earth to do so. Then my loving sister sent me the link to this site. (I guess she’s worried about my sleeping habits).

Apparently, lack of sleep leads to weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, stress, depression, risk of stroke and more. It’s even linked to cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Working on a computer, doing house work or watching TV late at night are all stimulants that keep you up later and later, deplete melatonin levels and make a good night’s sleep harder and harder to achieve.

The solution, according to this article, is to:

  • Keep the bedroom for bedroom stuff, not stress stuff.
  • Have regular sleeping patterns every day of every week, to train your body.
  • Avoid all stimulants after dark. Does this include computers and TV, I wonder? Apparently it does include coffee and house work. How does anyone get a day’s work done?
  • Eat only light meals before  bed, and avoid carbs.
  • Make sure your room is as dark as possible. Even blinking lights on electronic devices pose a problem.

So I guess I’d better figure out a way to get enough sleep, somehow. Any ideas?

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