12 July, 2009

making time for sleep

I’ve always been a night owl… always… I’d like nothing better than to stay up half the night reading, crocheting, watching movies, baking, talking, drinking… hell, anything but sleeping. Something about the stillness of the night has always appealed to me. It’s quiet, peaceful. Even if I’m just up folding laundry, that’s always been ‘my’ time. To the converse, I’ve never had much trouble getting up the next day , hitting the ground running and taking the day on with a full head of steam.

Then I ran, full head of steam and all, into my mid-30s.

Picture train derailment, any vehicle traveling at high speed with the wheels falling off, Alvin and the Chipmunks being worked to death (before the caffeine kicked in).

What the hell was wrong with me? I could not for the life of me figure out why my normally night owlish self was yawning by 9:30, unable to keep my eyes open through Grey’s (I know, a true tragedy). Nights when I did push the envelope and attempt to stay up later to read or catch up on work in the silence after the kids were in bed, found me waking at 3 am, book perched tent-like on my face, on the couch. *side note* I just noticed that I referred to staying up late as pushing the envelope. Geez…..*end note*.

I’m not quite sure what I was fighting, continuing to stay up late. Feeling old? Just because I could? Even now, I don’t really know. All I know is that yet another day of dragging my ass through work, yawning my way through belly dancing class, I came home, and at the grand ol’ hour of 8:30, promptly passed out on top of my bed. I woke up before my alarm the next morning (still in now really gross work-out clothes) and actually felt human. (mind you, I get up at 5-5:30 am to be in the office at 7, 5 if the kids are with me and I have to make a day care run).

I nearly didn’t know what to do with myself. I felt… really good… not that I felt bad, really, but to be rested… wow.. I found I didn’t even need caffeine to start the day.

It really opened my eyes to how I was treating my body. Yes, I’m carrying a few more pounds that I’m happy with, and my fitness level isn’t where it should be (enter said belly dancing class), but this was more startling than a size label in my jeans. This was immediately noticeable. One night’s sleep and I felt invigorated! It truly has made me take a step back and look at how I’m caring for my body. I mean, this is the only one that I’m gonna get, and it’s certainly not getting any younger. I’ve always said that I want to grow old gracefully, eschewing plastic surgery, Botox, extreme hair dying (unless it’s for fun), being healthy and content with me. Those are my decisions though, and not to be viewed as judgement. Whenever I have friends who decide to do such things, I applaud their empowerment to take steps to make themselves happy. We each are only accountable to ourselves, so (harm to others aside) whatever you need to do to get yourself to that happy place, go for it.

To me, that now meant, after my rest filled revelation that I need to take better care of me.

Meaning, making time for sleep. Making that time allows me to have so much more energy during the day so that I can work on all the things that I was putting off until the wee hours. Keep in mind, that doesn’t mean I’m entering the convent anytime soon. The late night hours still call, and I’ll still find myself asleep on the couch more often that not. But I’m learning to listen more to my body, and when it says sleep, I don’t argue anymore.

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