Get Feisty for the Sleep Your Body Needs

The Gorge Amphitheater

I had fairy tale delusions of how much sleep I’d be getting once I finished my clinical licensing examinations. On the last day of my exams, our family was hit with a sick bug that I never got, thank God. When that was through, we all got a messy, disgusting, gut wrenching stomach virus. As soon as we recovered, the Wendy’s Eating Brother in law (WEBIL) was in town, and the Wendy’s Eating Husband (WEH) went with him to see DMB at the Gorge over an extended weekend. The day after the WEH returned, he started a new job. Multiple times during this chain of events, I puttered around our house in angry frustration saying, “I can’t believe this is happening! When will things slow down?! I NEED REST!”.

I have a job lined up for this fall (if everything falls into place, you’ll know about it soon), and because of that, I knew I needed sleep more than ever. With entitlement drenched bitterness, I found myself saying all kinds of things. How hard is it to get 8 hours of sleep a night!!? Don’t these kids understand to stay in their bed at night?! When will Re’uth be done teething? Ugggh! Who gave us the pukes!? Don’t people know to stay home for 48 hours after the stomach virus?!

I wanted to start my new job rested and alive. I didn’t want to start off exhausted, like I had felt all summer long. I didn’t want to be taking a million supplements and drinking coffee all day long just to function as a naturopathic doctor. Wouldn’t that be so bad? Your naturopathic doctor can’t get her own sleep together, but she’s telling you to sleep more. She’s relying on a gazillion herbs and coffee to get her through the day so that she can tell you what to do.

Like a toddler, I stomped my foot and demanded that sleep be given to me in the form of 8 straight solid hours every single night. When I didn’t get this kind of sleep, I had a fit. Sometimes the fit would look like me giving the Saturday morning stink eye to the Wendy’s Eating Husband for sleeping in an extra hour or two while I got up with the kids. I was the sleep deprived victim, and life just needed to calm down, so that I could actually get the sleep I needed. I blamed everything else for my lack of sleep, and did not consider my own unhealthy behaviors that kept me riding the sleep deprived ferris wheel around and around again.

The breakthrough came when I realized that I’m the one who has to make the sleep happen. Life will never slow down for me. Kids will always get sick. Something will always break. Someone will always be grieving. There will always, always be something competing with my sleep, but it’s my choice to choose to try to sleep or not try to sleep. I’m not talking about insomnia. I’m talking about the poor behavior that fuels a sleep deprived lifestyle – everything I mentioned last week.

When something rings so true in your spirit that it makes you squirmy, that means you better pay attention. This truth makes me squirmier than a cat running away from a 3 year old trying to pick it up, so I’m going to say it again: I’m the one who has to slow down.

I hate this because my desire for productivity competes with my want of sleep. I want productivity more than I want sleep, so much so, that I doop myself into believing I can freely exchange the two. It’s not working out for me.

I’ve got to fight for my sleep, even when I don’t feel like it, even when I think I’ll be more productive staying awake than snoozing in bed. I need to fight for the rest my body needs like I fought my older sister in middle school by throwing hairbrushes at her (I broke a few glass picture frames doing that).

Setting up a life that is conducive for sleep is no one else’s responsibility but my own. If I don’t fight for my own sleep, who will?

How can you fight for your sleep? What’s your sleep worth to you?

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One Response

  1. Keely Boyle

    I feel like this post is exactly where I am minus the kids obviously! I stay up late, wake up exhausted, want to crash around 1:30, get a second wind again around 8:30, and then I’m up until 12:30. Soooo awful! I totally need to get on a better schedule too!

    We can do this!


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