Lately I have been trying to burn the candle at both ends. I have had deadlines to make, goals I want to reach and a family to take care of amongst my many other daily tasks. Usually I can go along like this just fine but recently, I had a meltdown over the most ridiculous thing and it made me stop to think about why. I concluded that I had not been taking care of myself or getting enough sleep.
The four core areas of wellness we often refer to puts rest and stress management as the third most important aspect of health. I know this and yet I have trouble sometimes to be mindful to slow down and go to bed. Our culture is rushed. We are always trying to get ahead and climb the ladder and the competition to do so can be fierce so we find ourselves cutting out some of the important aspects of life, including our nightly rest. As we are pushing past everyone in a frenzy to get ahead, we are slowly wreaking havoc on our body, mind and spirit. Dr. DiCenso of Virginia states there are six reasons why taking the time to get good sleep is important to our over all health.
- Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later.
- Metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.
- Safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.
- Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.
- Cardiovascular health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.
- Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.
In looking at his reasons, they are very compelling. Who doesn’t want better a better mood or greater immune function? I know from personal experience, lack of sleep definitely causes me to have a harder time thinking and processing word choice. His list of reasons gave me something to think about and in the end, I realized so much of my own health could improve if I would just shut down a little earlier each day to rest my body and give it what it needs.
To aid in this, I have chosen to use essential oils to assist me with that process. A few of my favorites are Ylang Ylang to help reduce the stress around leaving my work behind for the day and Lavender at night to help me fall asleep so that I can experience a deeper state of relaxation. This is what seems to work for me and I have been enjoying more peace around just letting it go for the day and giving my body what it needs. Self care in general has always been a challenge for me but this is a great place to start. So far, the results are delightful. I’m not moody and irritable and that is always a good thing.