10 in ’10: Week 2

A quick note about my journey along the 10 in ’10 Healthy Challenge.  This week I tackled a persistent problem of insomnia.

Everyone has been there at one point or another, flopping around like a fish on a pier, staring at the ceiling in a dark room wondering why on earth are you still awake, and feeling like you are wading through a vast pool of oatmeal the next morning.

My challenge has been to get a minimum of six hours of sleep every night, which is below the recommended level of sleep, but an extra hour or two over what I usually have been getting.  There are a myriad of health problems associated with insomnia (helpful information here), not to mention the fatigue and cranky factor.   Having tried over the counter remedies and prescriptions I have instead turned to a more positive regimen of destressing and better living  not through chemistry.

One of the biggest factors in helping me get better sleep this week has been to turn off the electronics by 10:00 pm or 10:30.  There have been some interesting studies done in Sweden and elsewhere showing the stimulus from cell phones, laptops, etc are a causor of insomnia, something to do with cell phone radiation, which is also present in your wireless equipment.  These scientists also have found that the visual stimulation of the television activates brain activity, so the late night tv shows are a big no no.   There are so many factors that cause insomnia though, and for me, addressing this one area has been very helpful.  And very hard to do!  Must.  Resist.  Checking.  Email…

So after I unplug, I brew up a tisane of lemon verbena (leaves steeped in hot water).  It is very soothing and relaxing, and after reading a few pages of my book du jour, I have been getting much better sleep this week.  I am not yet averaging 6 hours a night but it is improving, and one night this past week I slept 9 hours!

Trying to do these two things has had a modest and yet noticeable impact.  It seems so simple and I wonder why didn’t I try this before, but getting good sleep is a habit and as all of us know, it’s easy to get into practices that may be fun but not the best for your health. Such as checking the laptop for email and Twitter before bed, next thing you know time has slipped by.

My plan for this 10 in ’10 challenge is not to make drastic changes or even ambitious changes which may not stick, I want to use this as a springboard towards overall better living. I want to be mindful of what I am doing and what my body really needs.   Many people fail with a New Year’s resolution because making a change in lifestyle is difficult.  And why put additional pressure on yourself when there is so much pressure on you from the world already.  Frankly, with the sad news this week, it has been quite helpful to focus on the little things that will make a big impact for me down the road.

I hope you have a healthy week!

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3 responses to “10 in ’10: Week 2

  1. I have had trouble sleeping lately too and it drives me crazy because this is a recent development in my life that has NEVER been even remotely a problem in the past 26 years of my life. I have a feeling ‘electronics’ are a big part. I need to read more anyway :) Thanks for the tips. Good luck with your sleeping issues!

  2. You didn’t mention anything about exercise. Lots of studies showing it helps with sleep. Was it too obvious?

  3. did you listen to Prairie Home Companion? They were doing a skit about sleep, how to get better sleep. The lady was saying do something restful like read a book….then a man would sing out like have sex The lady repeated her tip singing and then the guy would chime have sex…..on and on then she finally sang read a book while having sexxxxx so funny!! Its this weeks show 1-23-09 maybe you can find a repeat somewhere

    Good goal to get good sleep I need it!

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