The Balance of Sleep


I’m tired. Really tired. I feel this way often. Matter of fact, I don’t think I have really slept well since my kids were born. I know you can relate. Is this a biological natural thing that happens to all people when they become parents? We are suddenly on a new level of heightened awareness that never really goes away?

I can understand it when they are infants and you stand vigil for the slightest sign of distress. Once they are a bit more self-sufficient, shouldn’t this light sleeper bit subside?
I made the discovery that I still was not sleeping when I got my new Fitbit. I had a suspicion, but chalked it up to laziness on my part. It was amazing to me to realize the reason I was tired all the time was not a nutritional deficiency, or some messed up metabolic issue. It was not laziness or depression. It was as simple as my body was not getting enough rest.  (Why do we always look to over complicate things when the answer is much simpler?)

Then the question becomes why am I not sleeping enough? I discovered that, although I was getting to bed at the right time, I was not falling asleep quickly. I was looking at social media, doing online shopping, and other things that were not helping me wind down. Also, I was also waking up early due to a whinny dog and my early riser son. (I can’t help but think of the Jerry Seinfeld bit about night guy screwing up morning guy.)

Plus, my sleep in general, was not restful according to my Fitbit. It showed I woke several times a night from restful sleep. The result was a cranky, tiredness that hit me like a brick wall come Friday. If you find that you are like me waking up but not feeling like you are rested at all. Here are some things to examine.

  1. Are you doing activities that might make your mind less able to quiet down before bed. Are you doing left over paperwork or bills, for example. Not only could this be anxiety producing, you are probably doing a pretty poor job on these tasks by tackling them before bed.

2. Are you glancing at your phone before bed? Are you on your computer? I know it is tempting to see if that person returned your message or to check your email, but I know for me I get sucked into the scroll. One click becomes an hour long scroll of people’s updates. Before you know it you are going to bed too late, with a brain full of activity instead of rest.

  1. Is your mind racing with the things you have to do tomorrow? I have found making a list helps get these things out of your head. Most of the time we go over and over an anticipated situation to prepare use for an uncomfortable task the following day. The act of writing out a plan for this tasks goes a long way to quieting the mind.

4. Are you actually in bed at a decent time? What time do you actual shut off the TV? When do you close that book? When do you get off the computer? Is that time giving you enough hours to wake up fully rested? Most of the time it is not.

  1. Do you have a bedtime routine? No, this is not just for the kids. Adults could benefit from a bedtime routine that signals the body that they will be entering a period of rest. For some people this is having a bedtime snack, reading a book or meditation. Figure out what puts you into a relaxed state and make that into a bedtime routine.

Your thoughts???