My husband and I have a 22-month old son who is amazing in every way… aside from his love affair with the pre-dawn hours. For better of worse– for whatever reason– Lucas loves to wake up at about 4:30 every morning, regardless of when he goes to bed. This wouldn’t be an issue if John and I too were able to fall asleep at 7:30pm, but it’s often 10 or 11 before we can close our eyes for the night. As I said in a previous article, I’m endlessly baffled by how Lucas sleeps 12+ hours a day, yet we somehow only get 5 or 6!
Once in a while though, John and I are lucky and manage a night of almost enough rest. For example, Lucas has had the sniffles this week, and so has been sleeping all the way until 6am. And so have we!
This glorious reprieve has not only begun to lighten the dark circles under my eyes, it has made me realize just how critical rest is and how non-optimally I’ve been operating without it. As well as how blessed I’ve been all of my life up until now to get the amount that I've needed.
Generally, we attribute things like outlook, optimism, drive, coping mechanisms, and even success to personal and personaility traits; we simply are a certain way thanks to our environment, the choices we’ve made, and our innate ways of being.
I now realize, however, that a lack of sleep and rest can not only dull and mute some of our more positive traits and tendencies, but handicap them entirely.
For decades, research has documented the impact of lack of quality rest for people of all ages across the socio-economic spectrum. In graduate school I read through this research, but like most things in life, we tend to overlook or disregard that which doesn’t affect us directly.
For those of you who aren’t great sleepers, or get less than you need, consider giving yourself the gift of a week of good, solid rest. You too may be surprised how getting more sleep can resolve issues that through foggy judgment you’ve perhaps been incorrectly blaming on other people, circumstances, or situations in your life. This includes illnesses, stress, and related health issues we tend medicate before attempting to heal or at the least minimize with a great sleep regime.
Getting adequate rest has become a priority in our household. Because without proper sleep, John and I are unable to be our best in our work, for each other, and most importantly, for our precious son. Consider joining us in our quest for better rest... we'd love to hear how you're doing!
Jennifer Hamady is a vocal coach and psychotherapist specializing in personal, professional, and performance self-expression, as well as the author of The Art of Singing. Visit her website, www.FindingYourVoice.com to learn more about her practice and approach.