So blessed... But so unhappySep 09, 2021
Have you ever felt blissfully happy one day and then the next, felt discouraged and disillusioned with your life??
If so, I can relate. It wasn’t too long ago that I felt this same way.
Usually, I am able to stay in feelings of overall contentment and gratitude. I am SO blessed and have SO many wonderful people in my life that love and support me. I have a loving marriage of almost 28 years. My husband and I have three healthy children who have (or are about to) graduate from college and they have each found success in the “real world.” I love all the “career hats” I wear: Health Mentor, Manager of Real Estate Development Partnerships, Commercial and Agricultural Property Manager, and Real Estate Investor.
Then one day, seemingly out of nowhere, doubts started to creep into my mind. I began to be consumed by fear on a regular basis.
It was shocking how these doubts and fears had manifested so quickly. I found myself in a tailspin. The doubts and fears brought on negativity, worry and anxiety at such a rapid pace that I couldn't catch my breath. I couldn't seem to stop the negative thoughts, no matter how hard I tried.
I remember being at a restaurant eating dinner with my husband and I broke down sobbing. I was so upset that I couldn't finish my meal and we had to leave. I explained to him that I just felt like my whole world was crashing down. I was doubting everything about myself and my abilities and even our marriage.
He asked me one simple question that changed everything: “When did this start?”
I had to stop and pause because I realized that I hadn’t felt like that the week before so I looked back at my calendar. Who had I met with? What had I done that was new? Was I eating differently? Could it be hormones? What was different?
Then it hit me. It wasn't my “9am to 5pm” schedule, it was my “9pm to 5am” schedule! My sleep schedule had changed and with it came these dramatic feelings. But why? Could my body really affect my mind this much?
THE FIRST PILLAR - RECOVERY
I strive to be in bed for seven hours a night. That's my goal, which is designed to focus on recovery. I know that being in bed for seven hours doesn't equate to seven hours of sleep, but I made that my starting point because I know it was a reachable goal. For me, seven hours in bed usually means I get six and a half hours of sleep.
My husband recently had hip replacement surgery. Normally a side sleeper, he was sleeping on his back, so he was snoring. Something he does not usually do.
Looking back at my sleep tracker I realized that even though I was in bed for more than seven hours a night I was only getting five to five and a half hours of sleep a night. Getting more than an hour less of sleep every night compounded over three weeks caused me to sink into a funk where I didn't even recognize who I was, and all the doubts, fears and negative thoughts brought on worry and anxiety that was unbelievably crippling.
Solution: I took steps to increase the quality of my sleep (earbuds and white noise) while he continued to recover and gradually began sleeping on his side eliminating the snoring issue.
The message: If you are so blessed, but feel so unhappy, it could be because you are lacking quality sleep. Sleep has a profound effect not only on our bodies but on our mental health as well.
Sleep is an underrated health tool. The enormous effects of good quality sleep are neglected. Some people can go weeks or months without food, but in as little as 10 days of no sleep most people will die.
Signs of not getting quality sleep:
- In bed for less than 7 hours a night
- Hard time falling asleep
- Hard time staying asleep
- Wake in the morning and not feeling refreshed
- Feeling sluggish in the afternoon
- Mood swings
- Foggy thinking
- Food cravings
- Weight gain
- Increased joint pain
- Decreased desire to do activities that you normally enjoy
- Increase desire to be alone
- Decreased energy
- Menstrual irregularities
- Loss of strength or endurance in the gym
- Low libido
How to get better sleep:
- Make sure you are in bed for more than 7 hours. Work your way up to 8-9.
- Keep your bedroom like a cave - dark and cool. When I say dark, I mean the kind of dark where your eyes are wide open and you can’t see your hand in front of your face. Cool means 65-68 degrees.
- Get sunlight on your skin and in your eyes early in the morning. This resets your circadian rhythm.
- In the evening, lower lighting and eliminate blue light, especially two hours before you go to bed.
- Get movement into your day.
- Stop eating three hours before you go to bed.
- Similar to food, stop consuming alcohol three hours before you go to bed. Alcohol and some sleep aids do not produce sleep. They cause the brainwaves to be similar to someone who is unconscious. This Is not sleep and does not provide the health benefits of sleep.
- Eliminate caffeinated beverages late in the day. Each person processes caffeine differently depending on their gene expression. Be aware of how caffeine makes you feel.
If you are a parent or a shift worker, sleep needs to be a priority. Stop laughing - I have worn both of these “hats'' as well. Practice the 3C’s with better sleep in mind: Consistency, creativity and compassion. Your health depends on it.
If you would like to chat about your sleep and creating a sleep routine, schedule a free 15 minute call with me using this link https://calendly.com/jane4-pillarshealth/discoverycall
Live a balanced life!
P.S. If you would like to check out my other blogs click HERE
4 Easy Lifestyle Hacks for Better Health!
How to add health to your daily life without adding more to your "to do" list.
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