Episode 191: Sleep Like It Matters
Welcome back to the show. I’m your host Miranda Anderson. Today you’re listening to episode number 191: Sleep Like It Matters.
How much do you think sleep matters in your life? Do you prioritize it? Do you think about it? I’m excited to share some research and some ideas today about how to give our sleep, the energy and attention it deserves. Not only so we get enough of it, but that the sleep that we get is as quality as possible.
I Was A Low-Sleeper
This is a topic that has been on the forefront of my mind for the last few years. I think I’ve confessed in past episodes that for most of my life, I considered myself one of those rare creatures that didn’t need as much sleep as other people to function.
I operated on maybe four to five hours (generously) of sleep well into my late twenties. This is even after I had kids when I was working full-time. Then working part-time running an Etsy business and a blog on the side.
I would stay up until two or three in the morning and then wake up at six or seven to go on a run and begin the day with my kids.
I thought that this was just the way that I was built. What I didn’t realize was the way that not prioritizing my sleep was taking away so much from my overall wellbeing; the little bit of on edge that I would feel; the short patience that I often had; the lethargy in the middle of the day.
I recognized, just in the last five years, that sleep was not only something I needed, but that I needed desperately to function at my highest level and live my life in the way that I could be the most fulfilled.
I know that it’s tricky because our culture tells us that most of the things that matter are things that we must do while we’re awake.
I want to introduce you to an idea in this episode about the importance of sleep and share some tips for how your sleep can become even better than before.
Let’s begin today’s episode with a pause for a poem.
A flock of sheep that leisurely pass by
One after one; the sound of rain, and bees
Murmuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas,
Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky —
I’ve thought of all by turns, and still I lie
Sleepless; and soon the small birds’ melodies
Must hear, first utter’d from my orchard trees,
And the first cuckoo’s melancholy cry.
Even thus last night, and two nights more I lay,
And could not win thee, Sleep, by any stealth:
So do not let me wear to-night away.
Without thee what is all the morning’s wealth?
Come, blessed barrier between day and day,
Dear mother of fresh thoughts and joyous health!
To Sleep by William Wordsworth
There you have it. Even Wordsworth was concerned about his sleepless nights.
How Do You Feel About Sleep?
I’m curious how you feel about sleep generally. Do you place importance on it? I know that as a parent, sleep for my kids became so, so important. Like from the time they were born getting on a sleep schedule and figuring out sleeping through the night and nap times, and like the amount of time that I spent figuring out, adjusting, working through finagling, the sleep of my children was astronomical.
It almost seemed like the more focus I put on my kids’ sleep, the less I thought of myself as a being who slept. Especially in those early stages, you might not have a whole lot of sleep when you have an infant, but do you believe that sleep matters for you?
I intentionally titled this podcast “Sleep Like It Matters” because I think that so many of us forget that it does! Sleep is crucial and vital and important to so many aspects of our lives and our health. I want to introduce some of those ideas about what happens while we’re sleeping.
I’ve shared a couple of episodes on sleep in the past. I’ll link those in the show notes, one about Mothering the Mothers and how important it is to put ourselves to sleep. Another one I titled Sleep is my Love Language.
There are some some great episode about sleep. I also have an episode about Intentional Bedtime Routines, so I will link all of those in the show notes. You can head to livefreecreative.co/podcast and Look for episode 191. All those episodes will be linked right there, if you’re curious about them.
What Percentage of A Human Life Is Spent Sleeping?
I want to ask you a question and just think to yourself what your answer is.
If I were to ask you what percentage of our lives as humans do we, in general, spend sleeping? What would you think? What number comes to mind for you?
It might do a quick math, like 24 hours in a day…eight hours is what we’re supposed to kind of get… so maybe that lands around 30%.
The research shows that about 36% of our life is spent sleeping. Now I’m going to tell you something that might blow your mind, like it did mine.
I was at a forum at the elementary school. If you’ve listened to the show in the last few months, I’ve mentioned these forums on a couple of these episodes.
It’s like a speaker series for the parents at the elementary school, sponsored by the PTA and the local patient first like InstaCare. So, we had a PhD, VCU Psychologist com her name is Natalie Dautovich. She did a whole presentation about sleep and how to get healthy sleep. She shared this statistic at the beginning of her talk, and I had to pick my jaw up from the floor.
If we spend about 36% of our life sleeping, that means by age 90, if we are blessed to live that long, we have spent 32 years of our lives asleep.
Does that blow your mind?
32 years sleeping!! An entire third of our lives as humans on this planet are spent asleep.
How Much Do You Plan Your Awake Time?
Think about how much of your energy and resources and planning goes into your days, your awake time. The resources, the way you’re managing your time and organizing the accomplishments that you have during the day.
Your Sleep Time?
How much of that energy and time and resources do you put into that 36% of your life that you are asleep? Those 32 years of your long life that you will be asleep?
I was surprised by this, not because in and of itself it’s shocking, but because I had never considered the huge a portion of our lives is spent asleep and how vital that time is for our overall health and wellbeing.
We need to sleep like it matters because it does!
Here are just a few of the things that happen while we are sleeping:
- Our brain can store all the information that we’ve gathered during the day and rearrange our neurons so that it’s prepared to learn more the following day.
- Our nerve cells physically reorganize themselves during the night.
- Our body repairs cells.
- We clear out all the toxins that have been stored during the day.
I was thinking about this, the way that I think about my vacuum, how many of you vacuum, vacuum? And it slowly gets like a little less functional, but you just keep vacuuming and it’s not working quite as well. And you’re having to go over the same area a few times. And finally, you’re like, okay, I will just dump out the vacuum filter thing.
And then I go and I take the little thing off and I go dump it in the trash. All the junk, all the pet hair and the dust and the dirt and the nerds that my kids spilled on the floor, all that falls into the garbage.
I shake it out? I close it up. I hook it back on the vacuum. Suddenly it vacuums like a brand-new machine because all that junk that has been stored is cleared away. Because it’s in the process of functioning as a vacuum, like it’s absorbing, observing, observing, observing, sucking, sucking, sucking, sucking.
You must have time to break that down and let it loose so that it’s able to be empty again, to function well.
Our brains work the same way. Our bodies work the same way during the day, while we’re awake. They’re so efficient. All the processes that are going through and happening, we’re just storing toxins and we’re, we’re shoving things to the side and they’re piling up boxes, piling up boxes of storage.
And it it’s when we go to sleep that our brain takes over as maintenance and says, okay, where did these boxes go? Let’s put it all away. Let’s dump the toxins out. Let’s make space, let’s move things into long-term storage. Let’s move these things into short term storage. Let’s put everything back where it needs to go.
This is also when our muscles repair. It’s you know, to give you another silly metaphor, think about a car on a racetrack and it’s racing, racing, racing, racing. And then at some point it must come pull aside so that the tires can get changed and it can get filled up with gas and it can get all those little maintenance things.
You can’t do the maintenance on the race car while it’s racing.
It doesn’t make sense. Like that cannot happen. It must stop and pull over, pull into the little, you know, whatever that thing’s called on the side of the racetrack. Where it gets all its maintenance so that it can go back out and race, its fastest best race.
- Our muscles are repaired.
- Our hormones regulate.
- Our body’s able to balance our hunger hormones while we’re asleep so that we’re able to recognize when we’re hungry and what our body needs, as far as nutrition overnight.
- When we’re sleeping is when our body releases the hormones that rebuild our immune system so that we reinforce our ability to resist bacteria, infection, viruses, you know, trouble that comes along, that our body doesn’t want.
We must sleep to rebuild those systems.
Sleep is not just a lazy part of the day. It’s not just when we stopped doing the things that matter. Sleep is the time when every internal system in our body reorganizes, replenishes, and restores itself, so that we’re able to function at our optimal level the following day.
Maybe you understand that. A lot of those things you know and you think, gosh, I know that sleep is important, but I really don’t need as much of it. Or it’s more important for me to watch Netflix or it’s more important for me to get this work done.
Sleeping Makes Your More Creative and Efficient
Your efficiency level and creativity level are increased as much as three times in the morning than it is late at night, going to sleep hours earlier to allow your body to replenish renew rejuvenate. You’ll wake up and be able to be three times more efficient and creative than if you had stayed up to complete your project or stayed up to finish your homework or stayed up to do that work.
We just simply don’t function as well, late into the night as we do if we allow ourselves to get the amount of sleep we need.
This begs the question:
What is the optimal amount of sleep?
I will tell you, according to the CDC guidelines, it varies by age. Some of you are probably familiar with this but let me just go over it again for you.
From birth to three months, infants need 14 to 17 hours of sleep.
They sleep a lot. That old saying “Sleep when the baby sleeps.” Is so important because you probably won’t get a full night of sleep during the night as a new parent. So, if you can sleep during the day while your baby’s sleeping, then that’s a great time to get some of that done.
Four to 12 weeks infants need about 12 to 16 hours of sleep, including naps.
One to two years, it drops down to 11 to 14 hours. That includes naps.
Three to five-year-old’s need about 10 to 13 hours of sleep, including naps.
Now I must just say, my kids stopped napping around 18 months. So, like three to five years, if I had a child that napped into their threes, fours and fives, I would have been like over the moon, thrilled, but that did not happen for me.
I had to help my kids get their 10 to 13 hours of sleep at night because they weren’t napping during the day. You must adjust that according to what’s happening, as far as your own children’s or the little one’s sleep schedule.
Once they’re into school, age six to 12, kids need nine to 12 hours of sleep.
That’s a lot of sleep. Think about that.
Plum, my youngest is eight years old right now. She needs nine to 12 hours of sleep. That means if she must wake up at six to get to school on time, 6:30 am about is when we wake up. If I count backwards, we need to be going to bed between 6:00-9:30 pm, which sounds late to me.
We go to bed around 8:30 pm at my house, but that if she’s in bed and asleep, this is asleep. So, she’s asleep by 9-9:30. Then she’s getting the full nine hours that she needs. If we tried to go to bed at nine and she didn’t fall asleep until 10 30 or 11 and still had to get up for school, then she wouldn’t be getting her recommended amount of sleep.
When we bump into 13-to-18-year old’s, it goes to eight to 10 hours of recommended sleep and some need more in some need less. So, it just really depends on the individual, but this is the span eight to 10 hours.
Once you get to 18-to-60-year old’s, seven is the minimum recommended amount of sleep.
Seven hours. Is the minimum.
There’s no time in life when less than seven hours of sleep is recommended.
I think it’s fun to experiment a little bit with your sleep and find out where your sweet spot is. I was delusional telling myself for so many years that going to bed at two in the morning and waking up at five or six was like totally normal and that I was healthy and fine. I wasn’t.
I look back and I feel a little sad for myself that the way that I felt I needed to accomplish things and the speed at which I thought I needed to get things done and check boxes on my list was so fast that I wasn’t allowing myself to be healthy, to be well, to have the amount of sleep and have the pace of life that would have been better for me.
Sleeping more would have helped me feel better day to day. I would have been a more patient mom. I would have been a more creative person. I would have probably had a lot more self-compassion as well. If I had allowed myself to sleep as necessary.
I’ve discovered in the last few years, that about nine hours is my sweet spot. I need a healthy amount of sleep-in order to function at my highest level.
When I do that, I am refreshed. I feel well all day. I feel creative. My mood goes up and down just like a normal person and I experience the spectrum of emotions, but as a general baseline, I feel optimistic and hopeful and excited and enthusiastic about life.
With 9 hours of sleep at night I feel like I have a healthy or a reasonable amount of coping mechanisms. I’m able to manage my stress level. I don’t feel generally overwhelmed. Being able to recognize and then facilitate the amount of sleep that I need for my own wellbeing has been instrumental in my overall ability to flourish as a person.
So might you. Whether or not you accept or agree with or love the recommendation for sleep that is necessary for health and wellbeing.
How to get Quality Sleep
I want to share some ideas about how to get quality sleep. I decided to run with the acronym sleep S L E E P, and assign each of those letters, a factor in your sleep that will greatly increase the quality of sleep.
So not only getting the right amount of sleep but having high quality sleep will contribute to your overall health and wellbeing.
We’re going to start with S and sleep is your schedule. Our sleep schedule is genetically based on something called our circadian rhythm. This is something that all mammals have.
It’s the way that our body responds to light and dark. And if you think back caveman days, even just like a hundred years ago when electricity was just becoming more common in a regular household in American society, we were governed by the light and darkness of the natural world.
When the sun came up, our bodies recognized that it was time to wake. And when the sun went down, our bodies recognized that it was time to prepare ourselves for sleep.
Here are a couple of things that I’ve learned, some in this forum and some just in general research about our circadian rhythm, about our sleep schedule.
- One, it’s important to try to keep our sleep schedule as close to regular as possible, including weekends! We sometimes think socially we function on a weekday and weekend schedule where during the weekdays we get up to go to work in school and on the weekends, we can sleep in. We can stay up late. We have that social expectation of the rhythm of our day being different.
But our bodies don’t know that. So, what happens when we dramatically adjust our schedule, our sleep schedule based on social factors on the weekends is that our bodies assume that we’ve time traveled. They think that they try to adjust to a different schedule entirely.
It’s almost like a jet lag phenomenon. This idea of social jet lag. And so, by the time Sunday rolls around and we try to get back onto our regular work week, schedule our bodies, then have that much more time that they have to adjust back it’s as if you flew across the world, you know, or if across the country where you were three or four hours’ time different and you’ll try to adjust to that.
Then just as soon as your body was getting used to it, you adjusted back, you flew back home.
Recommendation from professionals is that you try to keep your schedule within an hour or so of regular every day. That means that your sleep time and your wake time stay similar with about an hour, no more than an hour change on the weekdays and the weekends.
Does that sound difficult? Yeah, totally me too. I try to go to sleep around 8:30 or 9:00 pm on the weekdays. And often that’s just sort of when things are getting started on the weekends. Dave and I will go out and have a reservation for dinner at 7:45 pm on Saturday night. That means I’m not going to be in bed by 9:00 pm, but if I can try to keep it to as close as possible to my regular schedule, the better off I will be.
This goes for our kids as well.
What is the preparation required for going to sleep?
I’d like to consider the actual preparation required for going to sleep. When I think about our sleep schedule, if it takes about an hour to an hour and a half to go from fully awake, to fully asleep, including changing into pajamas, brushing teeth, maybe reading books, doing a lullaby.
Tucking in getting drinks of water and then another drink of water. And then if you have toddlers, another drink of water and maybe a snack. Consider that entire timeline and be realistic. How long does it take from initiation of sleep routine to actual us sleepiness and dial that back from when you want the sleep to start?
So, if I want my kids to be asleep in their beds by 9:00 pm, and it takes us about an hour to an hour and a half, that means we need to initiate sleep routine around 7-7:30 pm to accommodate that whole schedule. The whole sleep schedule. Think about that for yourself as well. Do you plan on getting to bed by 10:30, but usually you’re up until 2:00 am?
You may need to plan on getting to bed around 8:00 pm. That sounds ludicrous probably, but see what happens if you try to get to bed around 8:00-8:30 pm, and then you putter around and you do those last few things and you clean up the dishes and you, you know, whatever it is that you feel like you need to get done before you go to sleep, you may land closer to 10:30 or 11:00 pm.
When planning schedule, incorporate not only the, the schedule of when to be asleep and awake, but also the runway that it takes to get yourself or your family into bed and asleep at those times.
Just like anything, both our children and we, our own adult bodies thrive with consistency. So, if you can establish some sort of a consistent sleep routine, bedtime routine, that can be helpful. I just want to share a little bit of mine.
My Basic Sleep Routine
I put on my pajamas; I washed my face with everyday oil. This everyday oil all over my face. And I use a makeup eraser cloth with water to wipe off the residual makeup and sweat and dirt and whatever’s happening on my face at night.
I like to use a CBD oil tincture under my tongue at night, that helps me sleep well. I started this during the pandemic when I was suffering from intense insomnia. As many of you may have been, and it’s been really helpful to just have that added a restfulness, that a CBD, I use a broad-spectrum CBD oil that can help no THC, just the CBD to help me not go to sleep but stay asleep or sleep more restfully.
This is after my kids are in bed, I like to turn off all the lights and turn on just a lamp. And then I climb into bed with a book, and I like to read a paper book at night, and we’re going to talk about this with L but the, the more we can reduce our blue light and use of electronics at night, the better our bodies will respond to falling asleep and to recognizing that it’s time to sleep.
Pajamas, teeth brushing, face washing, CBD oil, and climbing into bed with a book. Those are my sleep routine. My body recognizes that it’s time for bed.
Now we’re going to move into the L of sleep. The L stands for lighting. Until I went to this forum, I didn’t understand that intricate role that light plays in our ability to sleep well.
This goes back to the circadian rhythm that our bodies recognize the light and dark cycle of the earth as its primary cue for time to sleep.
The primary and most important sleep cue that our bodies recognize is the light and dark schedule.
Now think again, back a hundred years, our bodies would respond and recognize the natural cycle of the earth as light and dark, because there wasn’t a whole lot of artificial light happening. But now we not only have outside our windows streetlights, and lights inside our homes.
You can have the light on at all hours and pretend like it’s daylight all the time. Add to those electronics and the blue lights of our TV screens and our phones and our iPads and our bodies no longer can differentiate the regular light and dark cycles of the earth.
The recommendation from sleep experts is to reduce your blue light and artificial light within a few hours of going to sleep. This means turning off the lights of your house and just having low light, like dimming lights or lamps, or even candles that will signal to your body that it’s time to go to sleep during the summer.
If you’re trying to get kids to bed or putting yourself to bed before the sun has gone down to stick to a little bit more of a regular schedule, you can use blackout shades, use curtains, things like that. The information about light and dark comes through eyes.
TYhere’s this German word called zeitgeber, which means “time giver.” One of the primary zeitgebers in our retina is something called an IPRGC. These are Intrinsically Photosensitive Retinol Ganglion Cells, and their only function is to sense light and dark.
The speaker at this forum mentioned these IPRGC still function even in people who are born legally blind. Even though there is no function of determining actual, visual data, these intrinsically photosensitive retinol ganglion cells function to set their circadian rhythm.
They have nothing to do with us being able to see things, they’re just photo sensitive cells that tell our bodies when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to wake.
I find that so fascinating. The light and dark cycle matters a lot. We are so desynchronized by artificial light and screens that our bodies often don’t know when it’s time to sleep.
The Most Important Factor In Waking: Natural Light
When it’s time to wake one of the most important things that we can do to help reset our circadian rhythm involves going outside into the sunlight as soon as we can when we wake up. Waking up and heading outside into the real light of day so that those cells in our eyes and our bodies can recognize and wake up to its daytime.
It’s time to reset for a new day!
In the winter when we need to wake up before the sun has come up because of the social situation of work in school, the way that we’ve set it up in our modern culture, we can synthesize this with artificial light, having bright light, and there’s some lights that are specifically designed to mimic daylight.
Those lights can help us feel more awake and help reset our circadian rhythm. In the winter so that we’re able to function according to, you know, the social cultural schedule of being up regularly on time if we need to.
Since hearing this, I have incorporated going outside first thing into my morning routine and I have loved it.
I wake up around six and I take the dogs outside. I used to just open the back door for them to run outside and then I’d close it and wait until they scratched to come back in. Now I go outside with them. I sit in a patio chair. I bring my binoculars out and I birdwatch in my yard at six in the morning. The sun is up or coming up and I feel more awake and alive because of being able to spend this time outside first thing in the morning.
I’ve really loved this part of my routine. I also love that it’s helping my body recognize the wake and sleep patterns that I want it to have.
I can highly recommend that you incorporate some outside time first thing in the morning, in order to help your body recognize the lighting and set your circadian rhythm.
We’re going to move on to the first E and sleep now, which is electronics. This is a big sensitive subject for people, I know. Lots and lots of people whose routine involves watching TV before bed. I’m not going to tell you to not do that. I will say that the professional sleep experts recommend that you reduce and eliminate blue light within an hour of when you’d like to be asleep.
What happens when you watch electronics? When you’re using your phone? When you’re watching TV? When you’re playing video games before bed?
It reduces your body’s natural production of melatonin, which is one of the hormones that helps us feel tired. If you watch TV at night or play with your phone at night and then wonder why you’re not tired enough to go to sleep, it may have something to do with the fact that the blue light of the electronics is inhibiting that tiredness.
It also increases the stimulation in our brains that we’re watching something we’re paying attention. It might, depending on what you’re watching, playing or paying attention to, it can increase your adrenaline, your cortisol. It can create this stress response where of course your body isn’t going to easily fall asleep because you’ve just been in your body’s mind, running a marathon or fending off danger.
If you can find an alternative to watching a show, that could be great. Maybe it’s listening to a show? Maybe it’s turning on an interesting podcast or an audio book and being entertained. If you need that entertainment or that kind of mindlessness turn on a podcast or an audio book and play it next to your bed as you’re going to sleep.
I’ve mentioned before. I love the Headspace app and the sleepcasts on the Headspace app that are kind of like meandering stories that hold your attention, but are not so interesting that they prevent you from falling asleep.
Both for adults and for children, the reduction of electronics before bed will dramatically increase your ability to feel tired and to fall asleep and stay asleep.
E: Environmental Factors
Let’s move on to the second E in sleep, which is environmental factors. This one I’m going to use to just encompass some of the basics.
- Did you know that the temperature, the ideal temperature for sleep is between 64 and 68 degrees? That’s a lot colder than I would expect, but it makes sense. I generally get cold easily, but I really love when the room is cold at night and my blankets are what helped me snuggle up and get comfortable.
If I’m too hot at night, it’s hard for me to stay asleep. I might fall asleep, but I won’t stay asleep very well. So, if you can adjust your temperature in your house to decrease overnight. That will increase, improve the quality of your sleep.
- Another environmental factor that’s important with sleep is quiet.
If you are trying to sleep with lots of loud things going on, it’s going to be more interrupted or intrusive. Your body is going to pay attention to that as if it needs to be on alert. You could consider a sleeping with some soft earplugs. If you have a naturally louder environment, you also may consider a sound machine.
There are tons of these on the market that help kind of drown out and just create a baseline level of distraction so that you don’t feel like you need to be paying attention to every little sound that happens.
- How comfortable is your bed and your bedding? Remember how, in this episode, we’re going to pretend like sleep matters? We’re going to pay attention to giving sleep the attention that it deserves? If you don’t have a comfortable bed and a comfortable mattress and comfortable bedding, you may want to consider an upgrade.
Sleep Like It Matters means investing in your sleep. It means paying attention to it and the environment in which you’re trying to sleep. And it means improving that environment so that your quality of sleep can also improve.
- Another factor is the importance of using your bed primarily for sleep and for intimacy.
If you’re in the habit of working in your bed, or if you lay awake in your bed, even if you’re having a hard time sleeping at night and you stay in your bed, even though you’re awake and kind of annoyed, that will teach your body environmentally, that your bed is not totally a normal place for sleep.
You might go to get in your bed and your body will think, oh, it’s time to work or, oh, it’s time to, you know, roll back and forth pacing. If you are having a hard time sleeping, get out of bed and go sit on the couch. Lounge on the couch, make yourself a cup of tea.
Take a low dose of melatonin. Turn off all the lights, listen to something, read a book, boring book. Those things can help. If you retired to your bed, when it’s time for actual sleep, your body would start to environmentally recognize that this is a place where sleep happens, and it will be more likely to allow you to easily go to sleep in your bed.
We’re ready for the final point, P in sleep is priority.
If you are going to sleep like it matters. That means you have to pay attention to your schedule. Begin your events earlier, for example, on the weekends. If you’re having people over, don’t begin the party at 8:30 pm. If your normal bedtime is 9:30 pm, have people come over at 6:30 pm for an early cocktail hour and an early dinner.
Then by the time you’ve spent several hours together, it’s still only 10:00 pm and everyone can go home and sleep well.
Set your expectations. I have friends who know that I go to sleep early, so even my local book club, which I love this group of women, we get chatting and then someone will say, well, we know that Miranda must go to sleep so, we better wrap this up.
Simply being clear that you usually go to bed early, isn’t offensive to anyone, and it helps other people reinforce your own priorities for you.
Consider the overall benefits of sleep in your life and ask yourself the question as you’re getting ready to totally disrupt your sleep with one thing or another.
Does this really matter?
Does this matter more than all the benefits of sleep on my system and my overall health and wellbeing?
I like to think about this phrase that Cal Newport who’s one of my favorite thought leaders. One of the things that he talks about a lot is called “slow productivity” and I’ll do a whole episode about it in a few weeks. Slow Productivity basically means you’re getting things done that matter to you and that you’re getting them done in a way that is sustainable for your overall health and wellbeing.
Slow productivity means taking that project that you want to stay up all night, three nights in a row to finish and stretching it out over two weeks so that you, you make it happen. You get it done. You’re producing and achieving the things you want to, and you’re doing them at a pace that is reasonable and sustainable and healthy.
I love this idea of slowing everything down to make space for what matters, right? Your sleep matters right now. It matters today. And if that means that some things must wait until tomorrow or until next week or next month, or until the kids go to school or until the kids are in college. That’s okay.
Let’s go through these factors. One more time as a recap, number one.
S for Schedule your sleep. Try to keep as close to a schedule as possible. Just decide on something and experiment with it and see how it goes. Even on vacation, even on weekends, try to keep your schedule consistent.
L stands for Lighting. Remember that your body is going to pay attention to the light and dark cycles that it experiences. So, try to have your daylights be filled with light and your times be dark and dim so that your body recognizes it’s time for you to turn in.
E is Electronics. Lower your electronic use and your blue light reception at night. Experts recommend putting electronics away within about an hour or two of bedtime. That includes trying not to watch those late-night shows or scroll on your phone right before bed or in the morning. Think about exposure, minimizing your exposure to artificial light in the evenings and try to get out into the fresh daylight in the morning.
The second E is your Environmental Factors. How is the temperature in your room? How is the comfort level of your bed and your, and your bedding? Is it quiet in your room? How can you adjust the environmental factors so that you’re able to have a more deep and restful sleep experience?
P for priority. Make it known that you want to sleep a certain amount of time, organize with your partner, with your children, how sleep can be a priority for the household, how it’s part of your family culture. We talked everything about family culture last week. How it can be part of your family culture to sleep well?
Begin your movie nights earlier. Begin your dinner time a little bit earlier. Set your expectations with your friends and things that you host. And when you attend events that you’re going to leave time to accommodate a regular sleep schedule.
Now occasionally, if you’re going to a wedding or there’s a fun party or a bachelorette party or something out of the ordinary, maybe it’s worth the social jet lag of staying up late one or two nights in a row in every, you know, six months or so. I’m just making up these numbers. But once in a great while, maybe you decide it is worth the jet lag that I’m going to experience to alter my sleep schedule in this way.
And if you think about it like that is this event, is this experience a social experience or this personal, you know, Netflix binge is this worth the jet lag that my body is going to experience because of it. The fatigue is this worth resetting my circadian rhythm and having to then get back to a regular system.
If you think about it in that way, you may determine that there’s a different way to accomplish those means that there’s a different time to be more social.
Maybe you schedule a Netflix binge for the middle of the day. Sometime maybe you say kids, we’re going to watch all the Harry Potter movies this week of the summer. And we’re going to watch two a day. We’re going to start them at noon. We’re going to have popcorn and lunch and turn off the lights and watch Harry Potter in the middle of the day so that we can go to sleep on time and feel well.
Get Creative To Sleep Like It Matters
There are lots of different creative ways to prioritize your sleep. And I want you to just consider some of those as you’re thinking about your life. So, schedule lighting, electronics, environmental factors, and priority. These are how you can make your sleep.
Thank you so much for tuning in today. I hope this episode has been helpful. I love to sleep. It’s one of my very favorite things. And I think these last few years where I’ve understood how important sleep is, I felt better overall.
I hope that you’ve learned something today that will encourage you to take better care of yourself and your sleep to set yourself up for success and sleep like it matters.
I want to thank you as always for tuning into the show. I really appreciate you being here. If you are a new listener, make sure you subscribe. So, you don’t miss an episode. They release every Thursday morning at 6:00 AM Eastern Time.
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I want to share a recent review from WFP.
Her review says, “I’m kind of addicted. I heard about Miranda a few years ago on another podcast I love, and I tucked away the idea to someday check out her podcast and book. I just wish it hadn’t taken me so long to come back to it. I have been binge listening to her podcast episodes and I love them. I know a lot of people don’t like podcasts with just one person talking, but Miranda is different.
She doesn’t need a co-host to make it interesting. She talks about ideas I already know in new and inspiring ways. She shares concepts in a very real and unique way. And she has genuinely changed how I think about life. She’s awesome. I’m inspired by her ideas as well as her example in lifestyle. It’s worth your time to listen to our podcast and read her book more than enough.”
Thank you so much for such a genuine review. WF, PB mom. I would love to send you a thank you in the mail. If you want to send me an email@example.com I’ll. Send over a little thank you.
I really appreciate every single review. So, thank you for taking the time. It’s just a couple minutes to write one.
I hope you have a wonderful week. I hope you get lots of sleep and I will chat with you again next time. Okay. Have a good one. Bye!