Monday, November 1, 2010

Mental Health Monday: Back to Basics Week 1

Catch those Zzz's

I don't rest enough. For as long as I can remember I have seen sleeping as "wasted" time - time I could be getting stuff done. This became especially true after I had children. My first was very high needs so any time he was sleeping I hurried to get my daily tasks completed. I still struggle with this. I know I should be in the bed but then there's that one more thing I need to be doing. In the moment, it feels like I'm being productive but in reality, nothing could be farther from the truth.

I don't know about you, but when I do not get enough sleep I'm grouchy, snappy and sluggish. I get more done during the day after a good night's sleep than I ever could staying up late trying to finish the same projects. When I rest well, I'm a better Mom, better Wife and I do better at my tasks and quiet time.

The average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep at night. I love this research finding from an article over on The Mayo Clinic's site:

"Although some people feel rested on as few as five hours of sleep a night, recent studies call this notion into question. Researchers have found that people who sleep so little over many nights don't perform as well on complex mental tasks as do people who get closer to seven hours of sleep a night. Additionally, researchers have found that adults who get much more or less than seven hours of sleep a night have a higher mortality rate than do adults who sleep about seven hours a night."  

We are telling ourselves that we're getting enough sleep, but in reality we may be killing ourselves and are definitely killing our performance ability from day to day. The article goes on to say that getting enough sleep boosts your immune system - with the cold and flu season about to be in full swing we definitely need to take this basic principle seriously.

What about sleep and your mental health? Lack of sleep will increase your stress levels, increase strain on your interpersonal relationships and affect your job performance. All of these things can lead to poor mental health, something each of us is striving to avoid.

Recently, I heard Kay Arthur say that our bodies are designed to rest 8 hours each night - Who are we to go against God's design?

Will you join me in challenging yourself this week to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night? Aim to go to bed at least an hour earlier than you normally do tonight. Turn off that tv, let the dishes wait until the morning and let's see if we aren't better stewards of our daily life because of it.

Have any testimonies or words of encouragement? Leave them in the comment section. Next monday we will have a link up so that you can tell the rest of us how your first week of getting Back to Basics is going.

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