I am good friends with more than a few nurses. Strangely, I don’t know how that came to be considering that I have more nurse friends than you’d expect from someone not in the medical field. But as the news got around that I was changing my work schedule to nights, I was barraged with warnings, advice, and admonishments. Things like, “Make sure you take vitamin D supplements” and “Don’t forget to keep eating leafy greens” and “Working nights can make you sick!” It was as though they believed I’d completely lost my mind and turned into some fast food eating troglodyte whose idea of exercise was gnawing on beef jerky (which I want to assure my readers, I am not).
Out of all those helpful words to the wise, the hardest and yet simplest thing they reminded me to do (in a seemingly ENDLESS barrage of advice) was to “get enough sleep”. For the last few months I’ve been tracking my sleep with the Jawbone UP and the results haven’t been pretty. A few weeks ago, I received this message on my Jawbone app: “Sleep deprivation can compromise everything from organ function, to creativity and emotional stability. Skimping on sleep can even shorten your life. Sleep more. Feel better. Live longer. A triple win!” Even my app thinks I need to sleep more. I am currently writing this post under the influence of five hours of sleep. It took me six hours, a shower, one cup of tea, and two cups of coffee to get me this far in this post. As for productivity, lack of sleep is the antiChrist. Here’s a video with scary graphics of how evil lack of sleep can be: What would happen if you didn’t sleep?
In Brain Rules by John Medina (check out my review here), rule number seven is Sleep. According to Medina, lack of sleep causes the brain to short circuit. This short circuiting could explain why I’m having such difficulty writing this post and cannot even BEGIN to read my textbook on management for utilities (I’m sure my inability to study that has nothing to do with the dry, soporific material, nope, not at all).
Actually, I’m picking up the writing of this post more than a year after starting this because life as a walking zombie was just not working for me. The importance of sleep is a real thing, people!
Here are this week’s Kick Me takeaways based on reading research by far smarter people than I to improve your sleep quality and quantity:
- AVOID ALCOHOL, caffeine and other such chemicals 4-6 hours before bedtime.
- CREATE A SOOTHING SLEEP CHAMBER so your bedroom gets fully dark, maintains a nice cool temperature, and look into making your bed more comfortable.
- SCHEDULE BEDTIME. Maintaining a regular bedtime schedule gets the internal clock set.
Good luck with your sleeping routines! Let me know of any tips and tricks you use to help you sleep. Until next time!