Why, if you know sleep is crucial for your health, are you not sleeping?
I’m not talking about a medical condition that prevents you from sleeping. Though even then, it may be stress or some other health issue you’re not addressing. Nor am I talking about the heat and humidity we are suffering from in Sydney. Not sleeping in this mad weather is understandable.
As Dar said in yesterday’s comment, we often stay up late because the immediate payoff of doing fun things wins over the delayed gratification of waking up feeling rested.
Sometimes for me it just takes too much psychic energy to get off the lounge and do the bedtime chores and get into bed. The power of inertia keeps me on the lounge.
Then there’s the feeling of missing out. Of a new show on TV. Of a repeat of a favourite schow. Of time for myself. (O love it when I finally have the lounge room to myself and Mr S has gone to bed and the boys are not home orcin their own rooms.)
That explains the late nights, even when the good angel is sitting on one shoulder saying, “Go to bed, Lucinda. You know you’re tired.”
But beyond the bad habits there’s deeper truths.
We expect to be able to have what we want when we want it. Order up a meal. Connect to the Internet. Turn on the TV. And with our body – work now, read, go for a walk. We command and our body follows. So with sleep, we expect it to respond to our demands. I want to go to sleep now. “Now” varies depending on what’s in the diary (or on TV – I lead such an exciting life) and what was going on during the day.
But sleep won’t be commanded. Our bodies need regularity and routine.
Which brings up another point.
We are operating at such a speed and with so much activity, we’re creating an imbalance in our physiology.
Dr Ramalakhan on her book, Fast Asleep Wide Awake, says she sees thickening waists as another sign of this overactive sympathetic nervous system.
My waist is definitely thickening. Is it just too many carbs? Or could the stress be contributing to it? Is there a link between my sleep patterns, stressed and busy and noisy lifestyle and my waist?
And then she said those who operate in continual fast pace, and in stress, have their sympathetic nervous system locked on, that’s the fight or flight mode. Key sign: these people can’t stop or they’ll get sick and when they do stop, they do get sick.
I get sick at the start of every holiday. My body just collapses in a big pile of “thank god that’s over”. I’m not being a hypochondriac here. Mr S says I go down at the start of holidays as I finally stop pushing myself on.
So what to do?
Besides reading Dr Ramalakhan’s book, I’m going to implement some of Huffington’s strategies. I will list them tomorrow.
More on Dr Ramalakhan’s theories in future posts.