Last week, I happened to be in Colorado for a conference. Usually this annual conference is pretty relaxing, with lots of good food, fun field trips and tons of information stuffed in my brain. While there was good food and tons of information, sadly it was not very relaxing. In fact, I spent most of the week very tired and struggling to maintain my attention. I did not come back feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world. And I'm pretty sure I drank too much coffee.
Has this ever happened to you? You take a mini-vacation or a highly anticipated trip or just a staycation but you're so tired you can't be fully present to enjoy it?
I did some research on women being tired and I found that, according to sleep-expert Arianna Huffington, sleep deprivation not only contributes to a lack of attention but may cause more problems than we are aware - a suppressed immune system which equals more sickness, a decreased ability to handle stress well and even obesity, to just name a few. So why do we women do this to ourselves? That is, push ourselves so hard with whatever we are doing so that we are just not at our optimum daily?**
Why are Women So Tired?
Huffington says that often the reason is productivity related. Working gals tend to forgo a quality nights sleep so we can "get ahead." Other reasons women don't emphasize sleep can be family (think new babies and other worrisome concerns about kiddos), over extending ourselves with multiple jobs or even technology (um, repeatedly binge watching Vikings just one more time because, well, Vikings?!?).
So how do we ladies (and I do mean WE because WE have the power to make a change when it's literally affecting our health and the health of those we are closest to), how do we ladies decide to make this change for the better? I believe that it first starts with understanding what the problem is and then we can tackle the solution.
How Can We Tackle the Problem?
I want you to take a good hard look at yourself and determine why you are tired. Really look at your lifestyle and be honest with yourself. Are you pushing yourself at work? Are you socializing and going out too much? Do you have constant nightly disturbances that won't allow you to get a deep sleep? Is this just a phase or is it a lifestyle habit? Once you can get a good idea of why you don't sleep, you can begin to make choices on how to make changes. And no, I'm not suggesting you stop striving to be the best you can at work or to totally ignore your kids in lieu of your sleeping schedule. What I am suggesting is to make a simple, conscious change in your nightly routine that will help you sleep better.
Huffington says what works best for her is to "fall in love with sleep" again. She has adopted a nightly routine that guarantees that her batteries will be fully recharged in the morning. This includes allowing at least 30 minutes before bedtime to turn off all her electronic devices as the blue light inhibits sleep, taking a relaxing bath, wearing dedicated pajamas instead of gym clothes, reading non-work books and listing three things she was grateful for that day.
Does It Work?
I would think so since all those activities are a recipe for relaxation. And if we go to bed relaxed, we sleep better. It's science! Is it something you can do? Well, yes! When you make a conscious choice to do so. Remember that you can't be your most productive when your brain cells haven't fully renewed themselves at night. You can't be the best mommy or a good example to your kiddos if you don't take care of yourself. And trust me. Your friends will still be your friends if you don't stay out until 2am with them. Oh, and those Vikings? They can wait too.
Good-bye Beautiful! Until next time...
**Please note that if you are already getting enough sleep and are just tired all the time, it might be a hormonal imbalance, nutritional issue or other serious medical problem. Because I love you, please see your doctor if you have a persistent health concern.