Day 9 – Gettin’ Zzz’s

Functioning without adequate sleep is stressful.  So, I’m assuming that getting enough sleep is one of the requirements of de-stressing.  I don’t have a good handle on this sleep thing.  I think I’m sleeping fairly well these days, but then out of the blue — a night of elusive sleep.sleep blogHere’s what I know will keep me awake:

  • Caffeine in the evening.
  • Watching a thriller type show before bed, and for me it doesn’t take much to be a thriller.
  • Getting sleepy and forcing myself to stay awake longer.
  • Any confrontations before bed — best just not to talk to me.
  • Knowing that I need to be up early the next day, and trying to force  myself to sleep quickly.
  • Working right up to bedtime.
  • A hot shower right before bed.
  • A barometric pressure change.
  • Having a nap during the day.
  • Worry.
  • Light.
  • Noise.

And here’s what I know helps me to fall asleep:

  • A warm, relaxing bath before bed
  • Reading a short inspirational reading before bed, or reading a semi-boring book.
  • About an hour of calm before bed.
  • An overdose of carbohydrates — obviously not a good choice.
  • Knowing that I can sleep in the next day.

Sleeping shouldn’t be this complicated!  Ever wonder why they call it, fall asleep?  Just what takes you from one state to another?  I’ve never been one of those lucky people who get into bed, and no matter what the conditions, they are immediately are asleep.  Clearing my mind and paying attention to my above lists seem to be the most reliable way for me to cross from awake to asleep.  Yet, even after all these years, I don’t have the process of passing from one state to the other down pat.

What are your tips for good sleep?

Mind on my Brain – or – Brain on my Mind

Day 7 of BlogtoberFest and 31 Days.  Obviously, day 5 and 6 are missing.  Everyday is just too much blogging for me, and probably too much reading for you.  Yes!  As a public service, I’m saving you from excessive blog chatter.

On to minds and brains, which does have something to do with stress reduction.  I’m not being chased by lions; there is no “thing” out there to cause me stress.  Yet, my body continues to respond as if that were indeed what was happening.  My cortisol overload is coming from my mind, from my thoughts.  mind blogThe mind and the brain have always intrigued me.   When I was a philosophy student a zillion years ago, Immanuel Kant was my hero.  Kant believed that time and space are constraints that we put on our perceptions rather than being something outside of us.  Of course, this is a simplification;  after all, it took him volumes to say it.  Never the less,  it gave me a starting point for understanding.

This interest was peaked again a couple of years ago by a TED Talk by a neuroanatomist, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, who had a stroke.  If you haven’t seen this, and I know it’s 20 minutes long, it really is worth it.  She’s funny, too.  Since watching it, I have read her book My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey several times.  I read it again this summer, and now it seems that every book I pick up has to do with brains and thoughts.  You’ll be hearing more about this gray matter.

Would love to hear what you think of Dr. Taylor’s TED talk, and if it gives you pause for thought.  It’s on YouTube here and has been viewed over 2.5 million times.