Lately, I’ve been having this running dialogue in my head. With myself. Yes, I know that’s not a good sign. Onward. It starts up around…oh…8, 9, 10 pm at night. When I’m supposed to be getting ready for bed. Or when I’m supposed to be sleeping. In short, it goes something like this (Evil Becky has been represented in italics in the below dialogue):
–I’m sleepy. I should get ready for bed.
–But there are so many things I could do right now…like watch all of the episodes of This American Life on Netflix!
–I can watch them later…I need to get up early for my workout tomorrow.
–…I could study medical terminology…or read all of those books that I have to write reports on before August…
–I’m sleepy. I really should go to bed.
–That’s right, I AM sleepy. I just need a little snack to keep me going!
And it all goes downhill from there. The night creeps towards waking hours, and I can be found filling out tourist visa forms, cleaning out my closet and organizing my desk. Obviously I’m too cool for school. Most nights, I feel like this:
I’ve known this for some time now, and I’ve decided to finally go public: My name is Becky, and I have a sleep problem. For a while. Maybe most of my life! I’ve hated naps since I was a kid, and always had to be coaxed into them. Naps aside, I’ve wished more than once that I could simply plug into some energy source and recharge à la Energizer Bunny. Alas, sleep is still an integral part of a healthy life, and I’ve been short-circuiting mine through this unhealthy habit.
Not sleeping–unhealthy, really? Yup. It’s serious business, too. Slumber helps us to consolidate daily input into our memory (read: make sense of your life!), and a deficit is linked to a host of chronic diseases, depressed immunity and weight gain (most likely due to midnight snacking…ouch). Plus we need more of it: the latest recommendations have upped the adult sleep requirement (formerly 7 hours) to 7-9 hours.
Hmmm. I need an attitude adjustment toward my nights on the double. So what if it took a New York Times article to convince me? I’ve decided to create a challenge for myself, and of course, you’re welcome to come along, too. I’m calling it “Eight in Eight.” What can I say…I’m guessing my sleep deprivation is zapping my creativity as well. The challenge is simple–get eight hours of sleep for eight days. In a row. Starting tonight. I’m cringing a little as I write this. But I’m going to keep a diary of sorts to record (1) if I make the challenge for the day, and (2) how I feel during the day energy-wise. I’ll let you know how it goes on the 28th!
In the meantime, I’m adopting a few strategies to help woo myself into bed (please, um, refrain from comments of an inappropriate nature). I’m sure you all already practice them, and I’m way behind the trend of sleeping through the night. However, do permit me to share:
1. Remove all clutter from your bedroom: I did this yesterday. Check.
2. Stop eating several hours before your bedtime: Um, starting this tonight. Semi-check.
3. Stop all forms of electronic stimuli (email/internet, movies, etc.) at least one hour before your bedtime: Eek, this will be hard. Starting tonight.
4. Plan a scrumptious breakfast to wake up to. Check!
It’s no secret that I love breakfast. But hot oats and scrambled eggs have no place in steamy Atlanta summers. What to do?
I discovered Kimberly Snyder’s blog last year and was happy to see her book come out a couple of months ago. A beautiful clinical nutritionist and yoga instructor, Kimberly features simple but delicious raw recipes on her blog and in her book. Her “Glowing Green Smoothie” has also appeared on a host of shows and is being promoted by celebrities that Kimberly works with. I started drinking one of her smoothies last summer that I want to share with you all…although it makes for a lighter breakfast, this tasty, refreshing breakfast drink will surprise you with its sweetness. It is the perfect option for those summer days when you don’t want to feel weighed down with a heavy breakfast, or for when you have heavier meals planned for later in the day.
Summertime Smoothie, adapted from Kimberly Snyder’s Glowing Green Summer Smoothie
-2 cups of spinach
-1 cup of purified water
-1 very ripe white peach or white nectarine, sliced up
-scant handful of fresh mint leaves
-3-4 ice cubes
Blend the spinach, water and mint together until smooth. Add the peach/nectarine slices and ice cubes. Blend until smooth.
Enjoy, and be sure to check out Kim’s blog!