by Madeleine Blanchard
No Comments »
At a certain point in my life, 24 years ago, I worked at night as a musical theatre actress, revving my engine for most of the afternoon to prepare for what was essentially a two hour athletic endurance test that started at 8 pm sharp. It took a couple of hours for my heart rate to return to normal and it was customary for me to start winding down at around midnight, and be ready for bed at about 1 am. Now this was all fine and well because I could usually sleep late the next day, or at least nap if I needed, because my entire life revolved around my job.
And then my daughter was born.
Now, all newborns wake at night to eat, and Hannah was no exception. But Hannah also had some kind of internal clock that made her wake up for the day at 5:30 am. There was no getting around it, she was up. And so was I. I took some time off from work when she was really little, but her Dad was also an actor and would come home from work at around 11 and expect us to have some quality time until his regular 1 am bedtime. You can imagine that after about 4 months of 5 ish hours of interrupted sleep a night I was pretty much brain dead. The amazing thing is that with going back to work, another baby and just…life; I kept it up for about seven years. The researchers tell us that that sleep deprivation causes the brain to behave the same way as it would when impaired by alcohol. I wonder just how much more I might have accomplished those years if I had actually ever slept. The brain desperately needs sleep – there are chemical processes that happen at hour 7 and 8 of sleep that are essential to optimal functioning. Listen to James Mass, sleep specialist, on the topic here – basically everything you need to know about why to get your sleep and getting the best night’s sleep.
What are you doing at night instead going to bed? Sitting in front of a screen? Worst thing you could do, your brain interprets screen light as sun and thinks it is time to be alert. Watching TV? Cut it out. If you want to be thin, healthy, smart, creative and make the best decisions go to bed.
So my friends, this is the final post in the review of the work by Dr. Dan Siegel and David Rock called the Healthy Mind Platter. The 7 areas to consider:
Sleep Time, Connecting Time, Down Time, Play Time, Focus Time, Time In and Physical Time -
as you create the most brain friendly lifestyle you could possibly have.