Is Healthy Sleep the Secret to Self-Care?

What’s up, warriors?

In your own self-care practice, do you ever find it difficult to decide what it is that you should do to treat yourself? You don’t have the mental capacity to read or journal, you don’t want to spend money on a pedicure, and a hot shower or long walk seems like too much work. I’ve been there! There’s one self-care solution that I personally tend to neglect, but requires zero brainpower, money, or physical effort: sleep. It seems like such an obvious option, yet I always seem to forget that it is there.

As a child, I hated taking naps. When I was three years old, I got my first concussion during a crib-diving incident. Instead of sleeping, I’d lie in crib jail with my eyes wide open, plotting my escape. The plan was ingenious. If I wanted to shorten my nap time, all I had to do was climb out of my crib, waltz downstairs to my mom, and ask for a glass of water. My master plan proved disastrous when I failed the landing. As my head crashed into the floor, my mom bolted up the stairs to find me in front of my crib, rather than in it. The next forty-five minutes was a repeated series of me falling out of consciousness, waking up, vomiting, and then blacking out again. While I ended up in the back of an ambulance on a trip to the emergency room, I would say the mission was successful because I got out of nap time that day! 😉

Little Me would have done anything to get out of sleeping. Crib-diving was one extreme. When my crib was replaced with a “big-girl bed,” my stubborn self would crawl out of bed at night and sit on the steps, determined to stay up past my bedtime. Usually, though, sleep would win and my parents would scoop me off of the staircase and carry me back to bed. Nowadays, sleep is a luxury and Adult Me would love a nice nap. I won’t lie, sometimes I’m a bit jealous of the two-year-old that I babysit who gets to take regular afternoon naps. If only I had appreciated nap time back in the day, maybe I would have been able to offset my current sleep debt!

Since the spring semester ended two months ago, I have taken one – count it, one – nap. When fall classes start in four weeks, caffeine will be the sole supplement to my sleep, so now is the time for naps! I did try to take one this afternoon, but unfortunately, my inner child snuck in and refused to let me fall asleep (in hindsight, it may have been this morning’s coffee keeping me awake). Self-care is about listening to your own needs. In the midst of life’s chaos, sleep may not seem high priority, but adequate rest will provide you with the energy you need to work, think, and act more effectively and efficiently. Think about how much some added Z’s could do for you! Better yet, sleep on it!

Peace & hugs,

Emma