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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sleep, Glorious Sleep...

Sorry for my recent silence. Perhaps you can tell from the post title exactly where my spare time has been going!  I don't know why I have been so tired lately, but it's real. This level of fatigue reminds me of when I was simultaneously in the very early stages of pregnancy , planning a wedding, and working in a bakery/cafe that required opening the store at 4:45 a.m (and no, I'm not pregnant now--Minou is in France, plus there's that T). I can remember leafing through catalogs of wedding registry items at Penney's (not yet a minimalist!) and Minou leading me through the home sections of department stores, when ALL I wanted to do was curl up on those lovely display beds with their puffy matching pillow shams and comforters. And sleep. And sleep. And dream, and sleep...

Part of the problem is that I don't like to go to bed at night. A natural night owl, I get a second wind, or get distracted easily by a good book I'm reading in bed and forget to watch the time. Or sometimes, I don't want to go through the trouble of my nightly teeth and gum care routine, and just put it off. Gretchen Rubin wrote about this delaying bedtime problem in her wonderful book The Happiness Project. However, I do have to get up and be at work in the morning. My start time isn;t too early most of the week, but the dog noses me awake when he thinks it's time to go out in the morning, usually around 6:30 a.m., and then the chickens need tending to. Once I'm out of bed it's hard to go back to sleep for a short hour. So basically, I think I've built up a little sleep deficit. Add to this the fact that I do very well with a full 8 hours, not so well with less, and I have been grouchy and less than sharp...not a great combination!

I also wonder how much increased physical activity may be contributing. In solidarity with the Minimalist Fitness Challenge, I'm trying to step up my exercise intensity a few times a week. I even started jogging again--so slowly, but with happiness. Although exercising makes me feel much more lighthearted (love that endorphin rush!) and energetic in the short term, it could be that my body needs more sleep time to repair afterwards. And speaking of both fitness and sleep, did you know that not sleeping enough plays a significant role in predisposing toward overweight and obesity? It has to do with the regulation of leptin, an hormone that affects perception of satiety and is produced by adipose tissue. Overweight people consistently have high blood levels, leading to resistance, similar to insulin resistance in Type II Diabetes.

So I'm allowing myself to nap on the weekends, and sleep in (gasp!) til 8 or 8:30. Decadent! And lovely! And I seem to have and remember interesting dreams when they happen in the morning. Last night, for example, I was eating a big plate of broccoli and cauliflower from a farmer's market. (??) It looks like we are finally out from under the rainy grey skies we have had here in the Pacific NW while the rest of the country sweltered, but I still have two comforters piled on my bed. I love to sleep with an open window, fresh air, and heavy, fluffy covers. Preferably white.

How about you? How much sleep do you need? How do you like your bedding?
Are naps allowed?

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