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Day 8: Sleep is for the Strong

Today’s affirmation: I am worth the time and effort to heal myself.

I’ve about 100 pounds to lose. The last fifty came on quickly during a time of major transitions and coming off of my medications. I feel like i’m in a place now where I can focus on removing the excess fat from my body.

And while I’m a master at manipulating diet and exercise to my advantage, my naturopath reminded me of one thing that makes it super difficult to lose the weight. Something I hadn’t considered.

Sleep.

If I’m not getting enough sleep I’m not going to lose weight. The body needs time to rest and rejuvenate and heal itself.

I’m a big fan of sleep. Sunday naps after church are one of my favorite weekly activities. Going to bed early on a cold winter’s night and crawling under a mountain of blankets is a euphoric experience for me.

The problem, at least the one I’m going to tackle today, is my kids.

My husband and I never planned on co-sleeping or letting our kids come into our bed at all hours of the night, but here we are.

So while I’m able to go to bed and theoretically get enough sleep, I’ve got my 4 and 5 year olds (who know I’m the easier parent to wake up) in and out of my bed.

Sometimes I can fall back asleep. More often than not, though, I find myself on the couch watching Parks & Rec for  few hours because once I’m awake, I’m awake.

These mid-night problems will eventually fix themsleves, right? My kids aren’t going to be 17 and climbing into bed with me. But that doesn’t do me any good now and right now is when I need the sleep to lose the weight to be a healthier person.

And I don’t mean to husband bash if it sounds like I am. As women, it’s just in our nature to nurture and care for everyone else’s needs before our own. I’ve been operating that way, making sure my husband isn’t disturbed while he’s sleeping since he works and supports us, and making sure my kids get enough sleep because they have school.

But me? I’ve been pushing myself to the side.

I can’t do that anymore.

I’m going to start implementing these actions and, if you’re struggling, too, feel free to do the same.

  1. Go to bed at a decent time. It doesn’t matter if my kids come in or not, if I’m not setting myself up for sleep success by going to bed at a normal time I’m already doomed.
  2. Talk to your kids. They may not understand al the ramifications of you not getting enough sleep, but try. They get more than we give them credit for.
  3. Make a plan and explain it to your kids (and partner if applicable). Let your kids know that if they have a bad dream, they’re welcome to come in for just a few minutes, but then they’ll be sent back to their own bed. This may result in 2am tears, but it’s worth it.
  4. If there’s a time when the kids are having an especially hard time going back to sleep, wake your partner up once in awhile and have him help. Luke, my husband, is actually really good about this if I let him. If I wake him up and explain that I need him to be up with the kids this time, he’ll groggily roll out of bed and take care of them. The problem is me — I don’t often let him help out of silly guilt. Well guess what? Guilt isn’t going to get me more sleep. Moving forward I’ll be sharing the late night wake-up load with him until our kids get used to staying in their own bed all night.

Wish me luck! (And good luck to you, too!)

Empowering Words: It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it. – John Steinbeck

This is day 8 of my 2018 series “The Year I Learn to Love Myself.” You can get the lowdown on the series here on my day one post.

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As women it's our nature to nurture and sacrifice and take care of everyone before we take care of ourselves. But we need to draw the line at sleep. The more restful sleep we get, the better person, and partner, and parent we'll be. Here's some ways to get started.