16 Jun MAY – Sleep Better
The only way I was going to get through my busy life was to get enough sleep. I cram so much into my day and have many thoughts, jobs, people to think about, a commitment to exercise – the list goes on. It was vital that I get enough sleep to be able to manage everything and stay happy. Sleep became one of my May health resolutions (View my May resolutions here)
My fascination with sleep started when I started following Stephanie Person – or as I affectionately coined her – Crazy Keto Lady . Research tells us that we need to get 8 hours of PROPER sleep a night and sleep improves exponentially with at least 4 REM cycles per nite (90-130 minutes of deep dream-filled sleep). My research also taught me that I should not be sleeping within 2-3 hours of bedtime in order to ensure my food was properly digested. If optimum sleep is not achieved it could lead to adrenal fatigue and I knew it lead to stress! Years before I had adapted my gym training and switched from night time sessions to morning sessions. I found that by allowing myself to follow my circadian rhythms and slow down as the sun went down, I got a more restful sleep and felt energised in the morning. I employed a “no stress after 5pm rule and I found when I strayed from this and did work or uni work too late, I really struggled to get to sleep. To this day, I still try to leave work at work and come home to unwind!
When I started this project, my sleep was really only hitting about 7 or so hours a night. On the weekends, I was getting slightly more (sometimes-depending on whether I had a wild night!) but I knew it wasn’t enough.
Early in May, I became so obsessed with getting enough sleep, that I would get anxious if I didn’t eat by a certain time, wasn’t in bed or struggled to fall asleep or if I had to wake up early. The knock on effect was horrible! It would put me in an awful mood for the rest of the day. I reflected on this with my psychologist mid way through the month and she told me that I was attaching my anxiety to sleep and I needed to stop. It wasn’t going to kill me if I lost some sleep sometimes. I just had to remind myself that I wouldn’t get narcolepsy and fall asleep at my desk or die of sleep deprivation from 30 minutes less sleep. I would just have to get a better sleep the next night. This reminded me of my commandment to ’try to be better with every new day.’ I started to apply this strategy and when I would struggle to fall asleep (especially on a Sunday night – with plans for the week racing through my mind like formula 1 cars) I would remind myself that I could go to bed earlier the next night. Just keep at it.
To make our bed more inviting and luxurious, I used my birthday money to invest in new crisp white bed covers, large european pillows and some pretty bauble cushions. As I crammed my millions of new pillows into the tiny boot of my Audi, I thought of how I was going to smuggle these into the house (AKA The Narcos of the bed world) without Matt seeing them and giving me those eyes that would tell me “Adri, we have 45 billion damn cushions in this house already we don’t need any more!” I don’t know why I even planned to hide them from him because he was going to see them when he went to hop into bed anyway! I carefully dressed the bed with all my new purchases while Matt was cooking in the kitchen and later, when he got up to walk into the bedroom, I jumped to attention and darted in-front of him.
“So, uh, I bought some new things for our bed today at the shops.” I stammered.
With eyebrows raised, Matt asked with a tone that implied he was calculating how much money we had in our spending account, “What did you buy…?”
“With MY own birthday money (he’d surely lose it if it were our money) I got some new pillows, I have been following all these designer pages and I just wanted to make it beeeeeautiful.” He walked past me and into the bedroom and faced all 9 of the pillows that adorned our bed. With only one third of the bed not covered in pillows I knew what was coming…. He let out his signature “Phwoar” sound and I quickly lurched forward. I rubbed by hand along the bottom corner of the bed and said with bravado – similar to a boxing match announcer…
“Doesn’t it just scream – “GETTTT INNNN MMMMMEEEEE!”
He looked at me and we laughed.
But let me tell you – It was interesting to note how much he did love getting into our bed early every night after that and commented to me after a few nights that the bed was heaven to lay in.
At the end of the month, I realised that my sleep had definitely improved. I loved my bed, I was falling asleep much better and feeling a lot better for it. I chatted to Matt about the importance of sleep and noted how much better I felt when I was fueled by slumber and we decided that jumping into our design catalogue bed by 7:30pm would ensure we would get that 8 hour sleep so that we could be up for a walk and gym the following morning. If by some chance we stayed up late, I had to make the call to cancel the walk or the gym. My mental state was much more important than anything else. This was a resolution I had to follow but also had to let go of if there were times that I may not get to bed on time. I knew that my anxious brain may flare up if I predicted I wouldn’t get the 8 hours. I wouldn’t die! I would catch up. It came back to my commandment – ‘be realistic.’