There are many ways I am good about taking care of myself. I exercise regularly. I eat well, lots of fruits and vegetables, not much processed or fast food. I drink moderately and when I do, it’s primarily wine. I drink lots of water. I keep my mind intellectually challenged. I read a lot. I spend time in nature. I spend time with my family. I am getting better and better about saying “no” to new opportunities that I truly can’t make room for.
The one way I am consistently NOT good about taking care of myself is in regards to how much sleep I get. Especially as a mommy, working woman, and PhD student. I jokingly tell friends that I learned to drink coffee when working on my Master’s degree and learned to function on less sleep with my PhD.
But the joke’s in me because the truth is that I know I need more sleep. I am reminded of it specifically today, as I sit here following a weekend of PLENTY of sleep, way more than my typical amount. I took a long 4-day weekend off work and had parenting help, which meant I slept 8-9 hours a night in lieu of my typical 5-6 hours. And today, I am feeling refreshed, can think clearly, don’t feel the need for coffee, am feeling patient, happier, and more relaxed.
This observation is directly in line with calls in the media for people to get more sleep. Ariana Huffinginton, founder of the Huffington Post, has been on a 2+ year crusade to encourage us to get more sleep. This summer, I heard a research presentation on the positive effect sleep has on music performance, improving performance accuracy and decreasing errors. Getting enough sleep supposedly has beauty and health benefits, too.
Even though I know this, I am resigned to the fact that it may not be possible to consistently get enough sleep at this point in my life, not with young kids, a looming PhD degree, and an impending move. But I also know that all three of those are temporary situations. My sleep life doesn’t always have to be ignored at this level.
Here’s hoping for more zzzz’s in my future.