You Can Sleep When You Die (Episode 275)
Are you sleeping enough? I remember a time in my life when yawning was common all throughout my day, as I guzzled coffee to keep myself running and cringed with the pain of a full yawn and TMJ issues from my clenched jaws.
All that has changed. It's rare that I yawn anymore. I've switched to tea in the mornings, and have coffee only as an afternoon treat on occasion. As we've dug into things that are being tolerated in our homes, lack of sleep was another complaint.
What Are You Tolerating?
As I was looking at what we wanted to address on the Mama Says Namaste podcast, I posed this question to our audience online:
What are you tolerating that you'd like to change in your house?
You can answer the question and share your story on any of these links below - we'll be addressing the answers on the next few podcast episodes:
Not only do I want to hear what you're tolerating, if you've moved through this and gotten to the other side, I want to hear your story! Can you share about something that was a struggle in the past that you've now moved past and overcome? Drop me a note and share your story. It may be the inspiration and encouragement someone else needs to hear.
We're not waiting for life to be perfect; simply to keep the flow of goodness in our lives going as smoothly as we can as we learn new insights!
How Much Sleep Are You Getting?
We're down in the Florida Keys right now, volunteering at Bahia Honda State Park for a few months in our RV. Our borrowed golf cart is electric, and every night we go on a starlit drive to take in the breathtaking sky. It's always clear when it's time to charge the battery based on the speed of the golf cart.
The lower the battery, the more it slows down, sputters, lights flicker, and, while it keeps moving, it's nowhere near as zippy as before. We only have so much battery life before we need to recharge. So how much sleep are you truly getting? Is it enough to get you to that full battery life with the most pep in your step, or is it simply keeping the lights flickering?
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, here is the recommended sleep range for all ages:
Getting Trapped in "The Buzz"
There can be some fun in the buzz of busy. It's a little energy kick. We wake up and have our "buzz" routines - grabbing coffee, hitting the gym, checking our social media... And then we feel the adrenaline rush of pushing yourself to the limit...including exhaustion. You know what I'm talking about - that little delerious high we get when we've gone past our limit with exhaustion?
Ultimately the crash will always catch up with you. From simply passing out with exhaustion to becoming physically sick, your body will check you.
The Three Myths
I know new parents have their own share of bedtime drama, and are oftentimes sleep-deprived. Yes, there are seasons that simply are more exhausting than others, and I say take it when you can at any point, and know that this season shall pass.
What you want to be careful about is taking this on as an identity. We recently addressed this on the podcast, and having something become a character you put on - the character of being drained, overwhelmed, exhausted...
If you want an awesome analogy from Nathan on quality of life and potatoes, you've just got to listen to the podcast above.
We've addressed the bedtime battles before when it comes to younger kids. And the often overlooked one is how to handle sleep with your teens, as well as you adults.
Let me really focus in on you all. Teens who push their sleep can handle being spoke to as adults who push their sleep - these same myths hold true for them as well -
Myth #1: Busy is a badge of honor.
Don't confuse activity with accomplishment. There is a difference in exhaustion when you are yard work tired versus being zapped mentally and emotionally.
Pay attention to what type of tired you are - is it from accomplishment, or just running around in reaction mode all day?
Is your life reflecting the one you dream of, or are you so busy preparing for it you don't have the time to experience it? Recognize when your life is full (with what you want), or if it's just busy for busy's sake.
Myth #2: You can sleep when you die.
There are no rollover minutes where you'll just be able to recover it all. There are enough studies at this point showing that sleeping all weekend does not justify staying up all week, and is unsustainable.
I used to proclaim this and always be up for anything at any time. The more I've grown, I've learned the art of "biohacking", or looking for "hacks" on my most productive times based on my natural biology. Not only is exhaustion detrimental to my productivity, being in tune with the natural rhythms and functions of my body cycles directly relates to my mental and emotional health, and when I allow for rest when my body needs it, I am way more successful in anything I do.
If I postpone sleep, I'm literally going to end up dying sooner - so me putting sleep off just brings my end date closer as my body goes into survival mode to keep running on fumes. Some people are naturally wired to be active at certain times - and the more you work with that, the more energy you're going to have. The more you put it off, the longer it's going to take you to recover, so look for natural rest times and energy times in your life.
Myth #3: The early bird gets the worm.
Let's go back to biohacking - appreciate your cycles and learning/growing with them. Pay attention to when you are most productive - and that's typically when you're rested. Look at how you can best have your body work for you. Capitalize on your gut intuition. When you feel most alert - what can you accomplish at this point? When you're dragging, is that a reminder from your body that it's time to slow down or recharge?
You have to replenish yourself. Everything in this world is trying to distract you from that pillow. When have you felt the most well-rested? What was different?
Challenge - do a sleep inventory for your family - are you preparing for both your activity AND your recovery?
Are you helping your kids create good sleep habits?
Are you modeling that for them?
Remember many struggles start by example. Look at what habits can help to safeguard you and your family to help for better sleep.
Make sure you're setting the stage for relaxation and sleep in the bedrooms. If it's too hot/stuffy/cold it may be hard to sleep. Maybe airflow really helps (it does for me).
Remove all electronic devices from the bedroom - pull back from screen time of any sort the hour before you go to bed, at least.
Consider some sacred hours before bedtime that are good quality times to connect. Do this in the morning and at night. If you can make time for a show on TV or scrolling through social media, you can make time for yourself.
There is a difference in your connection and awareness for the day when you start your day screen-free with presence. Try it out. Slow things down and stop the multitasking a bit. Get present, unplug, and get your sleep.
Give yourself some permission to rest so you can fully show up in this world. Start where you are. Maybe that's simply bringing awareness this week. Doing a sleep inventory for yourself and your family. What you aren't aware of you can't really work on. Pay attention to how you're feeling, and what you're using as your fuel.
Are you recharging through rest and things that bring you joy, or caffeine and entertainment? Pay attention to what you feel in your body, and give space for it to talk. We are able to deepen our relationships and further our stretch and impact when we show up fully. Give that love and support for yourself to rest and recover, so you fully show up for yourself, your family, and beyond. When we are able to be present, we can truly celebrate how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us.