Tag Archives: sleep

Prioritize sleep.

I missed an entire night of sleep this week (baby Nick were at the hospital– he was having a little respiratory trouble, but is much, much better).  Remember when we were in college and did that on purpose, stay up all night?  I’d like to travel back in time and give 2004 Elizabeth a real talkin’ to.  

And while I’m at it, I might as well travel back even further and tell 1982-ish Elizabeth that staying up all night and skipping naps is just wrong.  Plus, it’s a crime against your sleepy parents. 

34-year-old me cannot hang on no sleep.  And even on a good night, I could stand to catch a few more hours of sleep.  I’m guessing you can relate.

September sunsets are pretty great. So is sleeping for more than 2 hours and 12 minutes per night.

September sunsets in South Boston are pretty great. As is sleeping for more than 2 hours and 12 minutes per night.

So I’ve become obsessed with learning how to prioritize sleep.  How to fall asleep sooner.  How to stay asleep longer.  How sleep affects our brains and our bodies and our moods and how many plates of nachos we want to eat and/or actually eat.

PRIORITIZE SLEEP

A few things that have caught my attention:

prioritize sleep bath

Spoiler alert: If it works for you, do it.  (Slight bummer: It doesn’t work for everyone.)  A good soak definitely seems to help me quiet my mind and relax my body after a long week.  I love this epsom soak, especially after a tough workout.

prioritize sleep book

I really enjoyed this book (and it is little, relatively speaking, perfect for overtired readers).  There’s an entire section devoted to sleep, one of the master keys of health, as Dr. LoGuidice calls it.  

  • Sleep Like a Champion: Sleep Tips for Athletes from Casper

prioritize sleep casper

We’re big fans of Casper (even Clark, who has never missed a minute of sleep in his life and is currently cuddled up on the Casper dog bed Nick recently ordered for him), and I thought this info sleep stages, in particular, was interesting.  I know my fellow Mama Beasts and I are likely years (decades?) away from getting 10 hours of sleep, but I like knowing that any increase in quality sleep could improve our speed, reaction time and overall athletic performance.  And maybe it’s time I learn to nap when the babies nap.

This gentle, nighttime flow is heaven.

prioritize sleep smoothie

Kale, check. Yogurt, check. Banana, check.  Seasonally inappropriate glass, check.

Even better: Most of these are already in my kitchen — tart cherry juice (also great for workout recovery), yogurt, whole grains, kale, bananas… even Cheerios.

This is one my go-to tricks for falling asleep quickly.  It’s sort of like counting sheep, but with, like… breathing.  It seems a little weird, but trust me.  Try it.

On that note… time for a responsibly early bedtime.

Also On Tap for Today:

Do you have a bedtime routine?  

 

Today: The upsides of insomnia.

I’ve never been a good sleeper, but being pregnant really brings out the insomniac in me. It’s partly the discomfort of being the size of Oh my God, Jay, it’s a baby whale, partly the inability to roll over without involuntarily making grunting noises (and/or inducing the worst calf cramp of all time), partly the need to get water and snacks every 20 minutes, and partly a tendency to make and re-make mental hospital bag packing lists all night.

Clark does not believe in insomnia.

Lately, I’m awake far more than I’m asleep… which is a problematic when it comes to, like, the daily functions of life… but it does have its upsides.

The upsides of insomnia (in no particular order)

  1. 4 AM is the perfect time to update your iPhone operating system.  No one else is awake, so no one is calling or emailing you, and no one will notice if you’re off the grid for however long the update takes.  And by update, I am obviously talking about NEW EMOJIS.  While you were sleeping, I was procuring the chipmunk emoji. 
  2. It’s quiet.  
  3. Sometimes it’s not quiet… like the time our neighbor crashed his Rascal scooter thing into the dumpster next door at 2 in the morning, dug around a bit, and then sped off into the early morning.  You don’t get to witness things like this when you’re sleeping.  At the risk of sounding like a real creep, I know all kinds of stuff about all kinds of people because, welp… I’m awake. (The downside to this particular upside is obvious, though: I pretty much think everyone is a murderer.)
  4. If you check the news at set intervals during the night, you become decently aware of the world’s happenings and can basically do your own broadcast each morning.  It’s like that show with the guy from Friday Night Lights (the one where his newspaper got delivered a day early), except that you might be a tiny bit less handsome than Coach Taylor (due to the lack of sleep, sorry).  I love giving Nick updates on celebrity deaths (that sounds morbid, because it is), political polls and um… new emojis when he wakes up.
  5. Every once in a while, one of those late night impulse purchases on Amazon Prime turns out to be that thing you couldn’t live without.  (Mostly, though, this is wasteful and fiscally irresponsible… but you’re probably too tired to care.)

And because I try to keep things fair and balanced…

The downside of insomnia

  1. I’m exhausted.

No need to say more.

Also On Tap for Today:

Tell me all about your weird neighbors.  (Just kidding… kind of…)

Today: The weekend according to Instagram V.

I’m hitting that stretch of the year when I am in full on workbernation mode.  It’s sort of like hibernation, minus the sleeping and being a bear parts.  I spent most of Saturday at work and the better part of Sunday obsessively checking my  work email.  It will be much of the same most nights and weekends until July.  I am, like, the least cool cell phone plan ever.  Get it?  Nights and weekends?  Right.

I’m focusing on being as present as possible when I am home (that means putting limits on the ol’ email checking compulsion) and simplifying where ever and whenever possible.  For example:

  • I am making Nick do all the chores.  Just kidding.  Or am I?
  • I’m wearing nothing but black until further notice.  Depressing, yes.  But everything matches.
  • I’m waking up even earlier (even if this requires going to bed the second I get home, which it might).
  • I am devoting time this week to eliminating as much visual clutter as possible.  It helps my brain feel more organized.

While I workbernate, please enjoy another installment of The weekend according to Instagram.

The weekend according to Instagram V

the weekend according to instagram

  1. One of my favorite views in the condo: Clark and I love watching Nick make grocery lists.  And not just because it means he’s going grocery shopping.  That’s an added plus.
  2. Thanks to the magic of Twitter, I learned that Saturday was National Banana Bread Day.  Not wanting to be unpatriotic, I broke out my gluten free flour and a few overripe bananas and got to work.
  3. While waiting for the over to preheat, I channeled my inner botanist and put together a little terrarium-esque centerpiece.  Despite spilling half a bag of potting mix on our cream colored rug, I was quite pleased with my work.  The flowers in the tall vase were an early birthday treat from Nick.  Both vases were steals from Homegoods.  That is to say, they were very inexpensive.  I promise I didn’t steal them.
  4. Gluten-free cinnamon banana oat muffins.  Need I say more?
  5. I got a gel manicure this weekend, effectively saving myself the usual 45 minutes I spend each week painting and repainting my nails and ensuring I don’t look like a (cinnamon banana oat) ragamuffin at work events for the next few weeks.  I talk with my hands.  A lot.  So this is sort of important.  There.  I think I have sufficiently rationalized treating myself. [Side note: did you know ragamuffin is a type of cat?  Totally Googled the word to make sure I spelled it correctly (I am bad at the Internet) and the search yielded lots of scary cat pictures.]  The color is CND Shellac Romantique, the closest possible gel relative to my usual standby, essie Ballet Slippers.
  6. Speaking of treats, I got a lovely package in the mail from Heidi at Intelligent Nutrients, a certified organic health and beauty company.  I’ll give you the full scoop this week on detoxing my locks.
  7. I snuck in a quick Sunday morning workout in my Saucony Virratas.  And then I sat on the floor for an hour with my dog.  Somewhat related: my stitches came out this morning, so I am officially back in action.
  8. Please don’t report me to the MSPCA or Sarah McLachlan (that PSA just kills me).  Don’t let his face fool you, Clark likes wearing origami hats fashioned from magazine subscription tear-outs.
  9. And last, but not least, the perfect daily yoga sequence from Yoga Journal’s 21 day challenge.  I completed this before bed on Sunday, helping to quiet my mind a bit.  I am all about the simple.

Also On Tap for Today:

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Today: Prepare to spring forward.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]If you were worried that I had succumbed to a trust fall related injury, never fear.  I am alive and mostly no worse for the wear.  The ceramic skeleton key that used to hang by our table, however, didn’t fare quite so well.  I’ve been tempering last weekend’s festivities with 13 hour days at the office, endless meetings, and welp… staring at this.

The thought of springing forward and subsequently losing an entire hour of sleep has me downright cranky.

Then again, I am usually cranky.  Because I rarely sleep enough.  And sometimes because I eat too much sugar.  I am a work in progress.  High on my self-improvement agenda lately is making quality sleep a priority.  Incidentally, that handle belongs to a door on that cute little cottage in Boothbay Harbor.

While I have a million excuses for both staying up too late, and pressing snooze too many times the following morning, I am making a bit of progress, starting with a mini-makeover.

I went to town at West Elm.  And yes, I do keep a Twitter bird-shaped nightlight at my bedside. You never know when you might need portable illumination.

In addition to my attempt to design on several dimes, I’ve made a few adjustments to my evening and nighttime routines.  Rather than scramble in the morning, I am spending a few minutes before bed putting away dishes, packing my lunch, running a load of laundry, putting away errant shoes and Frenchie toys, picking out an outfit (and then another one for when I decide I hate the first) and carving out my to do list for the next day.  It’s amazing how much more quickly my brain turns off when it’s not preoccupied with the frenzy of the next day.  Speaking of frenzy, I am trying to replace cop shows with reading.  And simplifying my soul.  Sort of.

While 40 days will be up before we know it, I highly recommend this read for anyone trying to incorporate the Lenten message more practically into their day.  From spending 15 minutes in silence, to wearing your oldest clothes, Paula Huston offers really interesting suggestions and exercises for connecting with those who suffer.  I just made the books sound really depressing; it’s not.  Quite the opposite, really.

After reading for a few minutes  in my newly refreshed bed, I think about all that I have to be grateful for.  I turn up my sound machine (set at “ocean”) to full blast, and before you know it, I’m out like a light.  And then I wake up an hour later, and remember that I forgot to set my alarm.  Baby steps.

Also On Tap for Today:

Are you an early riser?  I need your help.

 

Today: (Strange) dreamin’ of the marathon.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false] This week, I have alternated between not sleeping at all, and passing out immediately, only to have the strangest dreams about the marathon.  They’re like the dreams I had the summer I waitressed (the ones where you think you forgot about a table entirely, or that you served some lady a hunk of ribs when she actually ordered the haddock… although that happened in real life), but more bizarre.

 

This is a real book. It's a great, funny and uplifting read. I don't believe there is a single mention of "horseplay."

[Photo source]

The night before our 20 mile run, I dreamed that our Team in Training coach brought us to a marathon, but would only let us run 20 miles.  Once we reached that mile marker, some sort of night club bouncer busted out of nowhere and pulled us off the course.  I was pissed because he violated the “no horseplay on the course” rule, which I had found in some sort of running rule book on the way to this imaginary race. Huhhhhh?

Earlier this week, I dreamed that Disney had flooded and that there were so many abandoned cars on the roads in and around the parks, that the marathon had to be moved to my hometown.  The town didn’t have enough notice to shut down any streets, so we ran approximately 8,000 laps around the extinct Bradlees parking lot.  Seriously, why?

Oh good, this will match all of my outfits. For the rest of my life.

[Photo source]

This morning, I awoke completely exhausted, having dreamed that I had finished the marathon.  As I crossed the finish line, I looked down at my watch (which wasn’t my Garmin, it was some huge wonkin’ thing that looked like the 108 minute counter in the Swan hatch… please excuse the very brief Lost geek festival you just unwittingly attended) to see I had finished in 5:04.  In my dream I was so overcome with joy (and frankly, in reality I will be happy to cross the finish line at any time), that I fainted.  When I came to, I realized someone had stolen my medal.  But again, I was just so happy I didn’t care. Time for some medication, perhaps?

I think enough anxiety has built up in my body to power one of those giant chocolate fountain things.  Maybe I could rent myself out for a Super Sweet Sixteen?  I just want to run the dang thing already.  And you most likely want to stop hearing about the dang thing already.  Just a few more days, my friends. 

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Drop Clark off at Camp +dog
  • Maybe I should look up Bradlees in this dream dictionary
  • Time to load up the iPod: last minute song suggestions would be so appreciated!

Are you a vivid dreamer?  How do you sleep soundly before a big event?