Killer Bear On The Loose! – And Other Effects of Not Enough Sleep…

Improv at the Hideout Theatre

Improv at the Hideout Theatre

Being HUGE fans of improv comedy, we had been planning for a couple of weeks to spend many hours over the past weekend attending hourly shows at one of our favorite local comedy improv theatres, The Hideout. It was all part of their annual fundraiser for kids’ programs to help provide comedy classes to special needs kids, homeless kids, etc.

Every year The Hideout increases the length of the marathon by one hour – this year’s marathon was 46 hours.  YES, 46 HOURS STRAIGHT!

It includes a core group of performers who are in every show, each just under an hour in length and with a different topic or story,  for 46 hrs!!!

While I felt we did a lot by attending 16 of the shows, they were not all back to back. Our selections provided us only about 4 hrs of sleep on Friday and Saturday, our exhaustion was nothing compared to what it must have been for the performers, who also had the stress, etc of performing in every show and usually in new costumes!

By the end of it, we were pretty pooped. I also had noticed that there was a definite increase in things getting dropped (keys, clothes, spoons), knocked over (my freshly made cup of coffee – just before walking out the door – all over my pants…), and either forgotten to be taken (chargers for the phone) or done (take out the garbage).

But the biggest reminder of the impact of lack of sleep was when I saw my hubby by the end of it all.

For a little background here, he is THE only person I know who gets by on small amounts of sleep and routinely (over 90% of the time) only gets about 4-6 hours of sleep, 7 days a week! However, by the end of this past weekend, he was seriously dragging butt!!  Amazingly, more so than me… He actually looked pale and I wondered if he was getting sick, but he assured me he felt OK, just tired.

All of this leads me back to reflecting on the importance of sleep and how many things, necessary or chosen, can impact the amount or quality of sleep we get on a regular basis, so I decided to do an updated search about the importance of the amount of sleep we get.

It turns out that sleep is shown to have powerful effects on a number of important health issues. People who get 6 hours a night or less have higher levels of inflammation, which has multiple effects, including a higher chance of heart disease (as well as heart attack), stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and premature aging (see the full article here). They also think it affects the length and quality of life, your creativity, your memory, your weight (that’s right, your weight!), athletic performance and stamina, improves your grades, contributes to ADHD-like symptoms, your stress levels, your experience of depression, as well as your cholesterol and blood pressure and the number of fatal auto accidents people are involved in (this cause is a higher contributor than drunkenness).  BTW, I haven’t even touched on how grumpy many people are when they do not get enough sleep…

Sometimes we choose to get less sleep (like our choice to attend a high number of comedy shows in a short period of time), but sometimes we get less sleep because of excitement (due to travel, getting married, having a baby, holidays, etc) but can also occur due to challenges like being sick, having sick kids, losing a job, financial challenges, disagreements or arguments, injuries, and other stressors).

Some things we can do to help out are:

1 – Getting more rest on a regular basis. There were different opinions regarding the optimal amount of sleep recommended and had some variation based on your health, etc. I found a very interesting post entitled “How Much Sleep Do You Need?” to help you answer that question for yourself (check it out here).

2 – Create habits that support optimal sleeping like cutting out late-night caffeine (one article actually said not to have any after 2 p.m.).

3 – Make sure your bedroom is dark and cozy as well as staying away from communications technologies (like cell phones, computers, tvs, ipads, etc) for at least an hour before you go to bed. Read more about this both by visiting “How Artificial Light Is Wrecking Your Sleep, And What To Do About It” and “How Light Affects Our Sleep“.

4 – Avoid things that might get you worked up like watching scary movies or working on your to-do list right before bed. Instead develop habits that support relaxation and peacefulness, like reading a book of inspiring quotes or your spiritual book of preference, drinking a cup of herbal tea (like Sleepytime, Calm or chamomile) that support relaxation.

5 – Take a nice relaxing hot shower or soak in the tub in some relaxing bath salts (I have really liked this one).

Hopefully this list of suggestions and a reminder about the importance of sleep in our lives helps you to remember to make it a priority for you and your family – regardless of what you are being thrown in life. There are many other things that can be done to support a good sleep experience and evening wind-down rituals.

Blessings to you and thank you for all the loving parenting you do; it makes a better world, one Sweetie at a time.

Hug attached,

Koolma  : )

 

What experiences have you had that have shown you the importance of sleep in your life? What habits or rituals do you practice or know of (sometimes we know them but don’t practice them very well 🙂 that would be beneficial to share with others in their quest for better sleep?

We’d love to hear from you – please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section so we can help each other, remember, we are all in this together.
 

 

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