The way we have set up our society – according to a factory workers schedule – has tossed us into unnatural wake and sleep cycles. Some societies, believe it or not, still have a rest time built into their afternoons! I began napping when I had babies. At first I did what most moms do, try to cram a whole lot of chores into the baby’s down time. Then I got the brilliant idea to nap too. It was tough at first. There was guilt involved. But, I’m so glad I did it. I still nap every chance I get and have it down to a fine one-cycle–of-sleep science. We are designed to wake, work, rest, and play in cycles. Cycles in a day; cycles in a week; month, and year (think seasonal). Our bodies, if left to a more ‘natural’ cycle would easily flow within these cycles. However, we do not live in the jungle and are not waking/sleeping according to daylight/night-time hours and moon cycles. But, there are some ways to grab the essential rest we lack.
Step 1: Pay Attention
Just for a day or two, a week if you can, keep track of the times throughout the day when your energy level drops. You will most likely notice a pattern. Mid-morning. Right after lunch. When the sun sets. Notice how the changing seasons affect you. Step 2: Mini Break
If you are otherwise engaged in life’s activity when your power dip happens, excuse yourself if possible, take some deep breaths, stretch and shake (rattle, roll). Drink some water. Wash your hands. This will at least give your body some attention and most times that is what it wants. Step 3: Close Your Eyes
Even just for a few minutes. Allow yourself to sink into your chair. Slacken your muscles, especially your jaw.
Step 4: Take a Nap Already!
I know people who go to their cars during their lunch break and snooze. Close your office door. Turn off all your communication devices. Except, maybe a small alarm. Even 5 minutes helps. Tell your kids that mommy needs a nap. They will be thrilled to tuck you in.
Step 5: Go to Bed When You Are Tired
A no-brainer, right? But we almost never do it. You have too many things to do. It will mess up your schedule. I know, I know. I’ve told myself all of them. Sure for the first while it may alter the way you do your life, but over time you will find that if you honour what your body is telling you it needs, you will land in a cycle that works for you. You may wake up at 4 a.m. because you went to bed at 8, but that’s ok, you can do your stuff then.
Step 6: Do Research; Get Help
If insomnia or other chronic (non) sleep conditions are your problem, please spend the time to research what you need and get the proper help. Lack of sleep over a long time truly does shorten your life expectancy.
The single greatest self-help, self-improvement, self-advancement, life-changing technique is SLEEP. And it is the last thing people seem willing to invest time in. Now I want to work on instituting hibernation for the months of December and January….
Between naps and early bedtimes I am accepting new clients. Especially tired ones.