My First Essential Thing

I love to sleep. Mind you, I don’t sleep in or take naps. I just like my regular bedtime. My friends and colleagues poke some gentle fun at me because I go to bed by 10:00 p.m, even on weekends. Yes, you read that right – 10:00 p.m. Version 2I’ve always believed that sleep is one of the most important things I can do for myself. I’m not completely selfish, because if I don’t get enough sleep, others can suffer too!

It’s nothing new that we need regular, healthy sleep patterns in order to help our bodies repair. Everyone knows, but so many people don’t manage to do it. When I was principal of a school, one of the first things I would check when we had a student struggling with behaviour was sleep patterns. More often than not, sleep for that child was an issue: either not enough or very irregular.

I’m a member of the generation whose parents made sure we got at least 12 hours every night. I remember going to bed at 7:30 in the summertime when it was still light. I never liked it, except that I secretly did. A big thanks to my parents for establishing such good sleep patterns – I was so fortunate.

There’s a whole chapter on sleep in Essentialism:  The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.  Greg McKeown makes some excellent points but he basically says that we all need between 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Everyone who thinks they don’t and therefore don’t get enough sleep suffers and is not as productive or happy as they might be. Hmm, happiness is related to sleep. Seems like a really good reason to get more.

The documentary While You Were Sleeping just aired on CBC TV‘s The Nature of Things. It’s fascinating and lets us all know, again, that sleep is one of the most important body functions, right up there with eating and drinking. The consequences of sleep deprivation are serious and life threatening.

So why don’t we all get enough sleep? There are lots of tips available that might take a few weeks to implement but are very doable. It might seem easy to say, “I’m too busy”, or “I’m a night owl” or “I just don’t need that much sleep.” Really?

Sleep is essential. How are you going to get more?

 

5 comments on “My First Essential Thing

  1. Aviva says:

    Sue, I read this post when I let out my dogs this morning, and the irony is, I can’t seem to go back to sleep because I keep thinking about how I could get more sleep. 🙂 Over the March Break, I haven’t set my alarm, and I’ve slept in almost every day. The least amount of sleep I’ve gotten is 8 hours, and on most days, it’s more like 10 hours. This is a lot for me, but I do feel great! I’ve always been a sound sleeper, but I usually average about 6 hours a night. Your post makes me think about how I can get more. Time to watch that documentary and check out some tips. I often speak to parents about the importance of a good sleep. Maybe it’s time that I listen to my own advice.

    Aviva

    • Sue Dunlop says:

      Thanks for commenting! It saw from your workflow interview that you nap in the early evening – that’s one way. Is it your body telling you to get more sleep?

      • Aviva says:

        Probably. 🙂 I do honour the need for a nap though when I feel tired, and if I’m up particularly late on some nights, I go to bed early on others. Not sure if this counts as balance. 🙂

        Aviva

  2. Zoe says:

    I resonate Sue! I like this post because you point out how vital it is for all of us to take care of ourselves..to have balance and to know when we need to shut down!

    I too, am usually in bed by 9:30-10:00, and yes, even on weekends! I do like to sleep in sometimes (which usually means coffee and book in bed!) but ultimately, I do sleep well! I have learned to shut it off.
    During the day though, I am at full speed, physically and mentally as I’m certain you are too! I have had people ask me how I manage my time, how I don’t get sick, how I honour time with family..how I manage stress. My answer often leads to a conversation about sleep (and eating habits).

    I could also talk about running and why, no matter what is happening in my life, this is a priority – but I’ll leave that one for another post!

    Thanks for reminding us all of why we need to take care of ourselves first! 🙂
    -Zoe

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