Just 10 more minutes of sleep, please!

One of the great things about living with diabetes is you pretty much know every single thing you should be doing to live a healthier lifestyle…eat a balanced diet of healthy fats, carbs and protein… …exercise regularly…avoid smoking…do not-so-good things like drinking alcohol in moderation (I do enjoy my glass of red wine at night)…and get enough sleep.

Woah…get enough sleep? That’s like asking for the impossible. (Anyone think a 26-hour day is on the horizon?) I don’t know about you, but I find getting more than just 5-6 hours of sleep each night a challenge.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco discovered that some people have a gene that enables them to do well on 6 hours of sleep a night, but that gene is very rare. It appears in less than 3% of the population. (For the other 97% of us, six hours doesn’t come close to cutting it.)

In a blog post written by Scott H Young (his Get More From Life blog is fascinating–you should check it out) he delves into what we can do to fit more sleep into our schedule. I thought his suggestions made a lot of practical sense:

  1. Put work early in the day. As a morning person, (love that first cup of coffee in the morning) this suggestion makes a lot of sense. Especially if I am doing something creative, or a task that requires problem-solving brain power. After 4pm, I am basically pushing myself to get the must-do’s done. It’s really hard to expend a lot of energy after a certain point in the day.
  2. Set a bed time. I used to set a bedtime for my kids when they were young, but I’ve never done that for myself. As most women would agree, our work is never done…and I tend to try and get everything buttoned up before I start getting ready for bed. (Of course, I fall asleep on a regular basis while watching TV on the sofa during the 9-1opm hour, so I might as well turn off the TV and get under the covers for some quality sleep!)
  3. Get rid of the caffeine. Seriously? Get rid of caffeine? (Well, maybe I can incorporate 4 out of 5 of his suggestions.)
  4. Do less work, and do it smarter. Yes, working smarter is a good goal. Personally, I know I have room to tighten up my work schedule so that I can accomplish more in less time. At home, the internet can be a big time waster…so can television. While writing this post, I am watching the clock to make sure I get into the kitchen to get dinner going. Having a deadline to meet always motivates me to stay focused. Staying focused on the task at hand is key to working smarter.
  5. Set no-work hours. This suggestion is a novel one to me. I’ve never thought about “no-work” hours. (Probably because I was raised by parents that instilled the whole “work before play” value system.) It’s hard for me to let go of work responsibilities–but that is another example of trying to control everything. Even God said to have a day of rest. I think He would approve of daily hour of rest, too!
So with all of this great advice in mind, I am setting my new bedtime for 9pm and trying it out for at least a week to see how it makes me feel. Since my morning wake up time is always 4:30am, I will be getting 7 1/2 hours of sleep per night for the first time in years. Because when you live with diabetes, doing everything possible to live a healthy lifestyle is not an option.
Sweet dreams!

Meredithe Jini