Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Of Sleeping Well

All over the Internet I keep spying articles about the vital importance of sleep.

So how've you been sleeping lately?

I must say, one of the many reasons I'm so wildly happy at Hobbit Cottage is that I sleep so well here. And as Internet articles (here's a short one) tell us, it's vital that we do everything possible to sleep at least 7 or 8 hours. 

As I've grown older--rather than just complain about the changes in my body--I've researched (mostly online) just why I may be feeling, well, cranky or stiff or tired or-- 

--and I've made changes. Many. In fact, I've written here before what I do to sleep well, but I've tweaked that list since then. I mean, after all--growing older is much about tweaking, making changes, so that we'll age well and stay healthy. At least, I feel it is.

So here's my new and improved list. I aim at these things each day so that each night will be a restful, rejuvenating one... so that each day will feel amazing:

1.) I eat one main meal around noon, then have something small around 5 p.m. like a bowl of cereal or a slice of toast or a small bowl of vegetables or a spoon of peanut butter or other protein, etc. After 2:00 pm I avoid foods with sugar, including fruits, pasta and rice (even brown). I also don't drink much water after that time.

2.) Shortly before bedtime I take these vitamins:

1 Melatonin (300 mcg)
1 Krill Oil  (1,000 mg)
1 Vitamin D3 (2,000 i.u. during the winter). Here in the East, I feel this is vital since we stay inside so much during our long winters.
1 Calcium/Magnesium/Zinc caplet

After that powerful 'bedtime potion' I'm usually asleep less than ten minutes after my head hits the pillow.

3.) Tom and I sleep in separate bedrooms. Now, giggle all you want and think what you will, but we both sleep sooo much better this way and I believe we're healthier and happier together as a couple for it. (When you're married, it's perfectly acceptable for couples to do anything which works for both of them, critics be darned.)

4.) I go to bed the same time (pretty much) each night. Lately, that's been between 8:30 and 9:00 which--ok--I know is ridiculous. But I love to awaken between 5:00 am and 6:00 because I'm in love with mornings.

How do I still have a social life? When Tom and I get together with friends, it's for lunch, around noonish. Has worked for us for years.

5.) Other contributing factors:

I gave up caffeine (real coffee) years ago. The littlest bit now, even early in the morning, would keep me awake all night.
Comfortable pillows (vital).
A small fan to block out things that go bump in the night (I just use that during the summer).
A pitch-black room. 
A window opened just a half-inch for moistened outdoor air (for sinus help). 
A comfortable bed. Mine is not fancy nor expensive, it's old and I've got squashed boxes in between the mattress and box springs for firmness. (Hey, it works.)
And for me? I play a Dick Van Dyke episode each night as I'm falling asleep. Those people give me happy dreams. :) On the rare nights I awaken at 2:00 and can't fall asleep in, say, ten minutes, I  get up and take another krill oil and melatonin, switch the show back on and those things always puts me to sleep again. 
I take no sleeping medications and don't plan on taking any, ever.

If you're not sleeping well, I hope you'll keep seeking until you find what works for you. Is it a bit of a bother to do all this? Yes, a little. But the bigger bother is in a lack of sleep causing us to morph into something we do not wish to be. Or have.

Sleep. I have a feeling it's more important than any of us realize.


Oh, and I always buy the vitamins when they're BuyOneGetOneFree (often using a coupon for an additional $1 or $2 off) unless they're cheaper at, say, Vitacost.com. I wrote out best prices for each on an index card and carry it with me inside my coupon wallet for quick reference.

I always buy Krill Oil at Vitacost.com because the difference in price is amazing and places like Groupon often have half-off deals good at Vitacost, too. Same goes for COQ10--there's a huge difference in price if you buy it at Vitacost. (COQ10 isn't on my list, above, but Tom uses it and I thought perhaps some of you do, too.)



Tracy said...

I rarely have trouble falling asleep. Usually as soon as my head hits the pillow I am our like a light. :)

Great tips to keep in mind though. You never know when things may change & I may need to tweak in the future.

Anonymous said...

You are right...sleep is very important. I am TRYING to break my bad habit of staying up way too late!! It is hard as I have quite a few pills to take each day and TRY to fit in the vitamins and minerals too.
Elizabeth in NC

Lori Alexander said...

So happy to see I am not the only one in bed by 8:00! I have read that it is very important to lay flat for at least 5 hours to reenergize your adrenals...So not getting up to go potty for at least 5 hours. It has really helped me a lot. I use that Krill oil now every day!

Elizabeth said...

Yes, Debra sleep is very important. If I do not get at least 8 hrs. I do not feel well the next day. I do better with 9 or 10. I have to be up at 6:00 so that means I have to go to bed between 8:00-10:00. I put easy listening music on and sleep like a baby.

Jan said...

I, too, am in bed by 8ish as the goaties call for me quite early in the morning and it takes awhile for me to wake up! We keep a nighttime ritual of a brief chat and some giggles before rolling over and going to sleep.

Anonymous said...

I don't remember the last time I had a decent night of sleep so I have started to take naps whenever I feel 'the moment' has come that maybe I could doze off for 30 minutes or so and it does help. Taking a nap is also healthy.
Never heard of Krill oil and will check this out.


Anonymous said...

Last night I reread this post and followed your suggestion. I did not take the D as we get enough sun shine every day. Also we had had a fit D test recently and we were fine. I only had Krill in 300 mil and since mine are so expensive I tried one but took the melatonin and instead of taking the calcium at dinner I had it at bedtime with the other pills. I slept the best sleep I have had for ages...felt good when I got up too. I am going to do it again tonight. Know what you mean about separate bedrooms. Sleeping with another who tosses and snores loudly does not help you stay asleep! Least that is my experience. Even so, last night I slept good...did I say that before?? !! :) Sarah

Debra said...

Thanks, Everyone! It's great knowing I'm not the only one who goes to bed insanely early. :)

Marie--a few articles I've read say that daytime naps will throw-off your ability to sleep at night, get it out of kilter, which technically makes sense, I guess. Since I now sleep so well at night I no longer need naps, only very occasionally if I messed things up and didn't sleep well.

Sarah--oh! Your comment made me soo happy. Thanks for letting me know!

Thanks, All.... Debra