How I Self-Sabotage, and Why Sleep is so Important for your Health

Dear Friends,

I’m having a serious case of the Mondays! It’s the first day of the work week, which means the alarm went off at 6 a.m., I dragged myself out of bed at 6:20, got the kids up, ate breakfast, fed them breakfast and got myself ready, all in the span of 55 minutes. We rushed out the door at the last possible minute, and then I spent the rest of my day wiped out and not caring even a little bit about anything but going to bed tonight.

I have this bad habit that I fall into, where I completely ignore my bedtime alarm. My iPhone has a clock setting that allows me to set a bedtime and wake time, and the alarm sounds and tells me it’s time to hit the sheets. Once or twice a week, I will ignore it. I’m too engrossed in this book to put it down yet. This episode of This Is Us is more than half-over, I should just finish it. Whatever I tell myself, I ignore that 9:30 reminder, which leads to me still being up an hour later and lucky to be asleep by 11.

Then of course I can’t get myself out of bed at 6 a.m., my morning is rushed, and I spend the rest of my day too tired to think straight. I was contemplating this today, while staring at my computer screen in a drowsy haze, thanking the good Lord above for a slow-ish day. And I realized something: in that split-second where I decide to ignore my bedtime alarm, I am determining how my entire day will go the next day, before it even begins.

Staying up late means my next day is going to be wasted. If the average American lives 78.74 years, that means we get an average of 28,740 days to live. How many of those days have I thrown away, by being too tired to enjoy them or make the most of them? At least once a week I do this to myself, and on those days I do the bare minimum to get through it until I’m able to go to bed that night. That’s at least 52 days per year accomplishing next-to-nothing and just “surviving” until bedtime.

Wasted precious time aside, how else is my perpetual state of sleepiness impacting my health? I don’t have the energy to cook, nor the mental capacity to care what I’m eating. I don’t have time to pack a lunch in the morning, so I run home on my lunch break and throw together whatever I can find quickly…which is not usually something healthy. After all, it’s the unhealthy food that tends to be grab-n-go. Or I can call down to Barista’s and order something healthy to pick up…which is essentially throwing my money away since I have food at home that I just didn’t have time to put together!

Then there’s the coffee drinking. I set a goal for myself at the start of the year to cut way back on my coffee drinking. I went from a pot a day, to two cups. And I’ve been really good at following that…every day except the days I don’t sleep. Then I don’t care. Even though the caffeine really does nothing to reduce my tiredness, I drink it anyway because I have myself convinced that it will do something for me. It doesn’t.

But none of this is as detrimental as what it does to me mentally. My thoughts tend to be more negative. I’m more grouchy and irritable. I have no drive or motivation. I am far from being my best self. In fact, on these days I would say that I’m at my worst. One day a week I am irritable, tired, miserable, and my worst self. We all have bad days, but I’m creating my own bad days, every single week.

WHY AM I DOING THIS TO MYSELF?!

I decided that tonight I would stop the vicious cycle. Tired or not, I made dinner, cleaned up the kitchen and packed a lunch for tomorrow. Tired or not, I’m drudging up the mental capacity to write this post. And come 9:30, no TV will be on, no book will be open, and no social media will be checked. I will be in bed, I will turn out the lights, and tomorrow I will be at my best.

Love,
Loren

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