In recent months, I’ve been trying to improve my sleep. I just read an article by Tony Schwartz, Sleep is More Important Than Food, which is challenging me to be even more intentional.
For most of my life, I’ve taken sleep for granted. When I was a kid, I thought sleep was a waste of time. But, for most of my life, I haven’t had trouble sleeping. In recent years, however, I haven’t been intentional about getting enough sleep.
I am a morning person, but after becoming a parent, I started doing more after my normal bedtime. This led to a downward spiral by going to bed late and not getting enough sleep (this probably played into issues with my heart rate during the past year).
For my Lenten practice this year, I simply decided to try going to bed at a decent time (by 10:00 p.m.). My hope was that I’d also get up earlier, and therefore, have more quality time for devotion and my morning routine. I didn’t really force a get-up time because I knew I was still catching up on rest. It work pretty well; I usually got up between 5:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. (though the quality of my sleep still isn’t as good as it used to be).
I’ve always known I should try to rest or nap in the early afternoon; our schedule is such that we need to, sometimes. Our days start early in the morning and sometimes go well into the evening, so, it’s imperative that we carve out time to rest during the day. We just aren’t always good about doing so!
Schwartz’ article cites a study of violinists, which revealed that the top performers not only practiced, they also got plenty of sleep, getting an average of 8.5 hours of sleep per 24 hours, including a 20-30 minute nap.
To increase my sleep, I’ll need to go to bed earlier, because it’s important I get up early (especially with kids). Hopefully, the quality of my sleep returns and improves over time!
What about you? How much sleep do you get? Are you getting enough?