How Sleep Machismo Hurts & What To Do About It.

Respite(1)

 

I struggled in the past with allowing myself, with what I saw as the luxury, to nap.“With so much to do, what an arrogantly bold act of laziness!”  I’d think to myself.

 

Step Away From The Crazy Lady

I saw my own tiredness as an obstacle that needed to be overcome through will and caffeine and that white knuckling approach flavored everything I did. Loved ones would back away from me slowly when at the receiving end of this unwelcoming edge. Resentment crept up when I questioned why on earth all aspects of my life were pulling me beyond my capacity! Of course the irritating quirks of those I loved were as they have always been, my dishes were not any more dirty, my 5 year old is not any more needing of me, insurance customer service is not any more difficult…it just feels that way. When tired, everything and everyone feels like an obstacle. This resentment would burst out sideways in the most unexpected of times as impatience, inappropriate anger and judgment towards those closest to me.

 

Eating Humble Pie

My waking up early for self care whether I slept well or not had me at times cockeyed with sleepiness, yet I held my badge of grandiose victory of will over old habits up high.

 

This all came into question when on a particularly eye opening autumn afternoon my forehead resignedly fell onto the window of my locked car with a thud. I incredulously stared at my car keys lying on the driver seat of my locked car for the 3rd time that month. Through the disgust and shock I managed to scroll through my phone’s contact list of loved ones and friendly neighbors nearby. Standing in the library parking lot figuring which one could help me AGAIN with a hungry, cold and tired toddler in tow was not how I wanted to spend my afternoon.

 

Close Call

While dialing I remembered how that morning  I had caught myself about to nod off as I waited behind a red light, caffeinated and all.

Seeing my son’s fingers poke through my grasp, the hairs on my arms and behind my neck raised. My chest and face got hot as I began to choke up with tears  realizing that not having access to my car that  afternoon was the universe looking out for me. My sleep self denial from that point on… stripped.

 

Sleep Deprived Pride to the Curb

I need to go at the pace my life is telling me to go. I need to give myself what I need, to be present. Slow days when I haven’t slept well were going to be just that, slow days. Gentility, acceptance and naps go a long way. When those hot knife through butter days happened and I was in flow getting so much done with a spark in my eye, I was to just be grateful. It is within my control to do my best in setting up a lifestyle that encouraged (not arm wrestled) that to happen again. Not much else is.

Play is Hard Work!

As a result of disturbed sleep on many days, I have learned to become a great napper. Today I jump at the first hint of an opportunity of a nap. Usually between meal making and after having played with my son (If you suffer from insomnia try playing with kindergartners! That just might make your body seek sleep like no other magic pill). I give him a quiet activity or when the neighbors kids are over, I will have dear hubby take over as a set of eyes as I bolt to our guest room.

 

Foams of heaven

What works for me is to always have on hand eye covers and earbuds to maximize those precious few 20 minutes. With those 2 things in place they are 20 deep minutes in which my body completely shuts down and reboots. The banter from the 5 and 6 year old’s negotiating their play, the “clumpity clump” sound of building blocks hitting the wood floor and spontaneously erupting giggles drift away as the dime sized neon orange foams unravel their twisted shape and expand within my ear canals.

 

Respite: Our Birthright

As my head nestles into the pillow with eye covers in place, the muffles dissipate into dead silence and like an automated program, my soothed senses drown out the rattling thoughts. Body parts get heavier as they sink into the mattress and all of me finds sweet respite.

20 minutes later I’m a bushy tailed and present momma again.

 

Homage To Our Fundamental Need

Can you tell I loooooooooove napping? It is a sweet experience I now give myself.

There is not enough meditation, exercise, journaling and green smoothies I could give myself to makeup for lack of sleep. Sleep offers the deep restoration that nothing else can provide.

 

Sleep Culture Ego

In many cultures midday naps are part of the norm as this helpful article explains from Sleep.org and some of the biggest contributors to mankind all napped. I think our U.S. American culture can be a martyr compared to the rest of the world in trying to be so friggin productive all the time. Truth be told our “work more sleep less” ethic does the absolute opposite as this article in the Harvard Business Review explains. The term “sleepless machismo” as coined by Dr.Charles A. Czeisler in that article hits the nail on the head in describing this mainstream paradigm.

 

Go to Sleep!

A wonderful book that helped me brush off my back the nagging productivity monkey and nap more is “Take A Nap!” By Dr. Sara C Mednick. Her site also has great videos (you know how much I love those for my kitchen work time!) explaining the findings of her research.  Companies like Google and Zappos have already caught on by having cool sleep pods like these in their offices.

 

Check out this great TED talk by Arianna Huffington and her book called The Sleep Revolution on this very topic.

 

Do you make space in your life for good sleep or do you also see them as a luxury?
If you found this post helpful don’t forget to like and share, until next time!

 

 


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