Okay, I have to type quickly, which is going to be hard because I have so many different things that I would love to talk about, but so little time. Maybe I should think about getting on here a little more often, eh? Of course you're right.
The reason that I have to hurry is sleep. Yes, it's only 6:22. But I don't care. I will be off the computer (and all the other screens I have) by 7:00. Because sleep is amazing. I love it so much I can't even tell you. I have always loved sleep. I never pulled all nighters, even in college, because SLEEP! I have tried for a long time to make sure that I tried to leave a good 7-8 hours for sleep. But, y'all, seriously! My sleep game has leveled up and I can't even tell you how freaking awesome it is! You know me, I'll try to explain how great it is, but it's really one of those things that you have to experience. I didn't know it could be this great!
A few months ago, I saw a title of a podcast that was talking about how good sleep starts in the morning. I don't love listening to podcasts, but I do love sleep, so I was intrigued. The podcast was with the author of "Sleep Smarter" (absolutely recommend the book, but unfortunately I can't remember his name right now!) He was talking about how in order to get our cortisol levels going in the morning, we needed to get up and do some activity or movement fairly early, as well as expose ourselves to natural light as soon as we can. (Sheesh! Not like that. Just get outside if you can, or be where there is natural light in the room.) Cortisol, of course, sounds bad to us, because we have chronically high levels of it. However, in the natural circadian rhythm, it is important and necessary at certain times in the day. Morning is one of them. Having cortisol then makes us more ready to produce melatonin in the evening.
That was just one of many things that he talked about. Another thing was the sleep routine. I started a routine and it really does help a lot. I turn off my screens at least 2 hours before I go to bed (and I go to bed early because I get up freakishly early). That means no TV, no internet, no noise (besides my rather loud refrigerator; I better clean the coils soon). I admit that was a little scary to me. TV and/or internet was my way to wind down! I wasn't quite sure what I would do without it. It turns out that there ARE options. My routine involves starting with the dishes, then picking up, then doing some reading (fun stuff only), stretching and the teeth brushing and all of that. As I get to the reading, I start to turn down the overhead lights and read by lamp. Then when I do a little stretching, I usually just have a candle. The gradual darkness also helps. I usually only get a few stretches in before I'm sleepy enough that I go to bed. I'm not so tired I can't move, it's just that my body is ready for sleep. So I listen and go to bed.
My brain winds down better without lots of outside stimulus right before bed. Who would've thought? I do not sleep very many more hours than I did before (except that I wake up a lot less and go back to sleep a lot faster if I do wake up), but the quality of sleep I get! I didn't know it was possible to feel that refreshed after sleeping. And to spend most of the day wide awake and ready to go, until about 30-40 minutes before I go to bed, because my body knows what's coming.
Hmm, I guess it was easy to type quickly. Initially, I thought I had a lot of different stuff to say. I do, but I didn't realize that I was going to talk about this for so long. I guess all I can say is that you should read the book! Your ways of finding routines will likely be different than mine, and some people are like, "that's nice, but I have kids." It's okay. What is good for you will be specific to you. As for the kids, they can benefit from all of this, too. I'm not saying that it will make bedtime perfectly easy (or easy at all), but it's really nice stuff to be aware of, because whatever you can incorporate into your life can potentially make a big difference.
6:44. Not bad. I guess I can stop for now. SLEEP IS AMAZING!