Saturday, July 26, 2014

Published 9:30 AM by StilettoLova with 3 comments

Lay It On Down.... Why Many of Us Just Can't Get Enough Sleep

Yes, We Rise| Lay It On Down.... Why Many of Us Just Can't Get Enough Sleep

Meet Deborah. She has worked an excruciating 10-hour day mired with complex processes, endless bureaucracy, and unnecessary meetings. Exhausted, she then leaves work only to battle evening traffic. She arrives to her children's aftercare center to pick them up, listen to them argue about sharing toys and all of the homework that they have to do. Quietly seething, she speaks to herself in her head, "It's gonna be one of those nights."

It's 6:00 p.m. Once home, Deborah starts her evening ritual. She checks her mailbox and gathers her mail. She barely has energy to put her keys in the door. Once inside, she checks her voicemail, sorts through junk mail, bills, and letters, and begins to start dinner. She does her best to answer shouted questions from the children: "Mommy, can you help me with this?" Frustrated, she yells, "Child, I don't know about this 'new math'!" Deborah has a long night ahead of her. Cooking, helping her children with their homework and feeding them. She has to lay out and iron clothes for herself and the kids, prepare their lunches and baths, double-check their homework, and start work on a PowerPoint presentation for a major meeting next week. Oh, joy!

It's now 11:30, and Deborah is finally able to begin to wind down. She can feel her body start to wilt. "Guess I'd better lay it on down now," she says to herself as she feels the weight of her eyelids. She gives herself a long, hot shower, dries, and dresses for bed. "YES!" "FINALLY!" Her body seemed to beg for this. She was absolutely sure that she'd get a good night's rest. Yet, somehow after several tosses and turns in an attempt to find the right groove in her mattress and pillow, she just can't do it. She just can't get to sleep.

Does this sound like you? Are you unable to get the recommended 8-10 hours of sleep needed to perform at your best? Do you just go and go? Are you just so tired and exhausted that you CAN'T sleep? Sounds crazy doesn't it? Well, it isn't.

Let's explore why we just aren't getting enough sleep....

You Are A Device Junkie

You can't sleep without the television or radio on and use it to lull you to sleep. You won't feel right unless you can hear the soft hum of your laptop or fan. The problem with this is, your brain is listening and in an active state. The light from the television or the laptop can trick your brain into thinking it is still day time. If you do manage to get to sleep despite your devices, it will not be a deep one. You may be tired, but your brain is still processing the light and noises from these devices as if you are awake and you won't get the deep, REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep that is necessary for your body (especially your brain) to restore itself.

You Are Stressed Out

Part of Deborah's issue was that she had job stress (frustration at boring, unnecessary meetings, complicated processes, etc.). She had to work on a presentation and needed quiet time to prepare. She worried about whether her children's homework was correct. She'd received two bills that she had to pay, and wasn't sure she could pay them on time. In the back of her mind, she was juggling what bill she could put off to make those payments timely. Again, more stress. She was CONSTANTLY thinking about something and just could NOT shut her thoughts down.

You Love Your Starbucks

Yes! I love it too. There is nothing like a smooth espresso to get the party started! The problem is, that drinks that contain caffeine (coffee, tea, sodas) linger in your body up to 12 hours! That means that that espresso shot you drank at 9:00 a.m. is JUST wearing off at 9:00 p.m. If you have multiple cups of coffee throughout the day, well, you get the gist.

Your Mattress - The Thrill Is Gone

Notice that Deborah couldn't get to sleep despite many tosses and turns. She's a mattress-flipper like myself. As expensive as a good mattress is, it's no wonder why she hasn't gotten a new one. However, she's had the mattress for over 10 years! She can't get her "groove back" because the original firmness and comfort that it used to bring no longer exists. It's time for her to let it go and upgrade. Mattresses are an investment, but the return should be several years of sound sleep, really.

You're A Night Eater

Remember, your brain has the responsibility of restoring your body on a nightly basis. If you eat late at night, your brain is focused more on digesting what you ate and less on shutting your body down for renewal. Eating after 8:00 p.m. will most certainly guarantee that your night of sleep won't be restful. If you think about how the body disgests its food (separates each food, its ingredients, breaks down and distributes its vitamins and minerals, routes good fat/bad fat, processes for elimination), it's easy to understand why that leftover lasagna you ate at 10:00 p.m. had you tossing and turning all night.

You Are A Power-Napper

Your brain responds favorably to a routine. You are more likely to lull into a sound sleep if you go to bed at the same time every night, as your body is trained to shut down and restore based on the number of hours you are awake. If you are a power-napper, your body's "inner clock" will likely readjust itself, and your brain will be off schedule. Though this is a relative theory, and varies per person, one begs to ask how tired one really is if they can power-nap AND get a full night's rest. Hmmm....

Your Bedroom Is Your Everything Room

Your bedroom is an epicenter - an office, a daycare center, a storage room, a listening room, a movie room, and a love shack (*clearing throat*). You do everything in your BEDroom BUT sleep. Make an attempt to clear any distractions that would prevent you from sleeping. Make sure that your bedroom mirrors a den. Make it dark, quiet, and free from clutter. If you have space limitations (for example, you live in a studio apartment), and have to confine your activities to your bedroom, cut off all electronic devices, and close out all outside noise and light. For example, close your windows to block out that passing fire truck, or chirping birds. Install room-darkening blinds or draperies that will create an environment that your brain and body will respond to.

In the grand scheme, we need rest to survive and perform at our very best. This life doesn't afford us enough time to treat ourselves right. Make the time to get some good, solid sleep. You need it and deserve it.

**Stiletto Lova**


  1. Outstanding. I am an avid listener of my body, and I always wonder if I could achieve such a fete! I plan to, but I know I need the discipline. I love this, and congrats!

  2. Marcus SmallwoodJuly 26, 2014 at 4:06 PM

    can get very complicated, reminds me how blessed i am.

  3. Jasmine D ColemanJuly 28, 2014 at 10:43 AM

    She could be playing it safe and doesn't want to complicate things between him and his ex-wife. Although they are living together and there may be a lack of a sense of permanence in the relationship. Kids, and who you have around them, is one the biggest sources of conflict in co-parenting after a relationship ends. As a result, the new man/woman that comes into the relationship doesn't always get the freedom to love that child the way they would like to due to the other parent and their possible objections. When you take into consideration that this is a teenager she may feel it's best to give him his space and not force a relationship that she can't make happen.