Renew Your Health- September Challenge: SLEEP

Healthy sleep is so much more complex than it sounds. It sounds so easy (for some of you it probably is), but most of us don’t get enough sleep. Those of us who do often still aren’t getting good quality sleep. This month, I’d like to challenge you to join myself and my hubby in getting more shut-eye!

Before we jump into that, though, let me quickly recap our August Health Challenge, which was to detox. I ended up needing to increase my detox herbs more slowly than I thought, but it is important that I not take things too quickly. Since I’m breastfeeding, I don’t want to detox any faster than my body can break down the toxins. So, I’m still just taking one of each capsule a day. We’ve decided to extend the detox for at least another month, so I’ll be increasing the burdock root and milk thistle to twice a day starting September 1st. To help my body with the detox, I decided to add “sleep” as the September challenge.

Sleep is so important and yet so low on most people’s priority list. I include myself in that, as I’m writing this at 11:33PM. It’s just so easy to think, “Once the kids are in bed, then I can really knock some items off of my to-do list.” What really happens, though, is that the next day I’m too tired to work efficiently. I’m left with too much to do at the end of the day, so I stay up late to get caught up… It just gets worse and worse.

Why We Need Sleep

During sleep, our bodies repair themselves, detoxify, fight infection and simply rest. The cardiovascular system is allowed to slow down and muscles can rest and repair. Although the brain is still very mysterious to scientists, they all agree that adequate, high-quality sleep is needed for healthy brain function.

A lack in quality or amount of sleep causes many problems, such as:

  • lack of concentration
  • lack of coordination
  • slowed response time
  • impaired memory
  • impaired problem-solving skills
  • depressed immune response
  • emotional instability

There are many other consequences, but that list of commonly known effects of poor sleep should be enough to motivate us to make sleep a higher priority. We’re ready to jump in, so please consider joining us!

My Sleep Plan

For this month, I’m going to stick to a schedule. After the month is over I’ll lighten up on it some, but I’d like to form a habit during these 30 days. I personally need at least eight hours to feel rested, but I do best on nine hours. That will be my goal. If you’re following along, set your goals according to your personal sleep needs. Some people do well on seven hours, but others really need nine or ten- just do what works for you!

  • Consistent Wake Time: The girls tend to wake at eight, so I’ll set my alarm for 7:30. My hubby is a morning person (obviously, I’m a night owl) and he gets up at 6, which wakes me. The sleep after 6 isn’t deep sleep, but it does help. 🙂
  • Consistent Bed Time: What I plan to do is have an evening routine that will get me in bed by 10:30PM, then I will read until I am drowsy. If I try to fall asleep before I’m tired enough, I just end-up being unable to fall asleep. My hope is to have the consistent wake time create a more consistent time for when I start to feel sleepy. I know from experience that reading in bed allows me to feel tired enough to sleep long before a computer or TV screen does.
  • Magnesium: Both the baby and I sleep better when I remember to take a dose of magnesium early in the evening.
  • Naps: Babykins still has some nights that she just doesn’t sleep well, so on the days following them, I’ll allow for a 30 minute nap. I’ll set my alarm to be sure that I don’t sleep too long (as if the girls would let me!!).
  • Sunlight: Sleeping deeply is much easier if you’ve had some sun exposure earlier in the day. When I was gardening every morning with Pumpkin two summers ago, I slept really well! I plan to get some good morning sun exposure every day possible.
  • Computer Off: To keep from being tempted to work on-line late at night, I’ll be turning the computer off at 10PM. If you see me on FB after 10 EST you have my permission to rap me on the knuckles with a ruler! 😉
  • Daytime Routine: In order to fit everything in without my late night work time, I’ll have to get more organized during the day. I am hoping that better sleep will quickly make me more efficient, but I know I’ll have to put some extra effort into getting a good routine established. Before our second baby was born, I had a wonderful routine going for several months, and I plan to make a few adjustments and try it again.

There you have it! Silly as it may sound, I’m absolutely dreading giving up this calm, quiet work time I have. If you’re a natural night owl that has successfully moved your bedtime to a more decent hour, I’d love to hear about it!

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8 thoughts on “Renew Your Health- September Challenge: SLEEP

  1. I hear you, I live at home with my parents and older siblings. I have a one year old niece that loves to open doors and wake anyone that’s sleeping (Even the dog). (It’s so CUTE! She’ll walk over to me. Plop down beside me. Cock her head to either side and then she’ll start having a full blown conversation with me. Ja ja ja… When I don’t reply she’ll nudge me awake.) Even though I love my niece greatly, she makes it hard for me to get enough sleep sometimes. Sooo… I think I’ll be joining you on this challenge. Time to plan a schedule. (^_^)* Good luck, darling.

    • That is adorable, but certainly not conducive to sleep! 😉 When our second baby (“Babykins”- now nine months old) was not sleeping well those first six months, my hubby and I would often take “shifts”. I would take the late night shift until 3AM and he would take care of her from 3AM on (he would bring her to me in bed to nurse, if she got hungry). Granted, that’s part of the reason I’m having such a hard time going to bed earlier, now, but it was a life-saver at the time! Maybe you and your siblings could work out some kind of schedule. You could rotate mornings for who is “running interference” so that at least some days you would get to sleep. I imagine it would mostly be about distracting her from her favorite game by finding something else she loves. 🙂 Or, you could possibly work out nap shifts later in the day. I am ALL about taking naps when little ones prevent night-time sleep! I don’t know if any of that will work in your situation, but I do hope you are able to figure out something! Blessings!!

  2. Ah! This advice is very timely for me, as I’ve been sleeping HORRIBLY. I think I need to also find a chiropractor, as I haven’t sought one out since our move 10 months ago!!! I’m always moving around because I can’t get comfortable, and then I often lie awake in the night when I should be sleeping.

    Thanks for taking the time to post all these great tips, Justyn 🙂

    • A chiro is a good thing to add to this list! Our insurance doesn’t cover it, but I know a lot of people who really need to have adjustments regularly. I hope you are able to find a good one and get better sleep!

      Thanks for commenting, Glory! We miss you!!! *hug*

  3. I love your tips! I know I am not sleeping well … tossing and turning a lot at night. Plus my hubby gets home from work usually when I’ve been sleeping a few hours, which is when I sleep the best, so I know that totally disrupts my sleep pattern. I am also loving your detox!!

    • I hope you’re able to figure out the best way to get better sleep in your situation. I know how unusual schedules can really wreak havoc on sleep patterns.

      Glad to hear you’re liking the detox! What have you been doing for it?

      Thanks for the comment, Jane! 🙂

  4. Billie says:

    Hi Justyn,
    I read this article on SLEEP with interest. I, too, have started working on getting more and BETTER sleep. I take a supplement called GABA that is for stress and it is also a calmitive that allows me to go to sleep better. Another thing I have done is order a pair of blue-blocker glasses from Amazon.com (The link to my favorite is: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000LWJCJW/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=1AQRAMAQFC9Z3&coliid=IJTB1BGPYAUUM )
    However, they are out of these quite a bit, so these two also work well:
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00821OTYM/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=1AQRAMAQFC9Z3&coliid=I1FKEP5YFV4CRF&psc=1
    AND
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008188X9I/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=1AQRAMAQFC9Z3&coliid=I189WT708V72C1&psc=1
    ALL of these are less than $20.
    I wear these when I am particularly hyperactive to watch TV in the evening, so the blue light from the TV does not keep that hyperactivity going. Same goes for the Computer, phone, or tablet. Since I get migraines, like you do, these have been SO useful to wear either inside or outside when I am prodroming for a possible migraine, right there in the middle of one at the time, or postdrome from a migraine. I have given them to two of my friends who are migraineurs also, and they help a LOT. It really takes the strain off your eyes at this precarious time, and helps you relax a bit as well as keep the migraine from hurting quite so much. Hope this helps you and some of your readers who are having sleep and/or migraine issues. I keep a pair in my purse, and a pair at the table next to my chair.

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