It is going on four years ago that I woke in the very early morning hours to a call no one wants to get: my mom, panicked, in an ambulance on her way to the hospital with my dad. He had suffered a grand mal seizure while he was sleeping and at that moment, both the cause and prognosis were completely unknown.
Within hours, he was cleared, fine, it seemed, to go home. The cause was yet to be determined. He was groggy, remembered little and extremely tired. After weeks of testing, neurologists came back with a diagnosis: epilepsy. And not just epilepsy… but epilepsy triggered by what they called ‘a lifetime lack of sleep’.
A Wake-up Call
For this girl, who had been subsisting on 3-4 hours of sleep a night for upwards of three years while I started my business and it began to flourish, this should have been a wake-up call. Right in front of me, my dad was a living example of how our bodies respond when we don’t give them the sleep they need. Both my parents and my husband began to remind me regularly that my bedtime needed to be earlier. I tried. I promise I did, but work was overwhelming and I was always on my way to bed ‘in just a minute’. Sleep was still elusive.
One Small Change
But then a little thing happened: I turned 40 this year. My body decided to make itself known. I began to fall asleep in front of my computer and experience full-fledged exhaustion in the middle of the day. So, I recently committed to one small change: an earlier bedtime. My goal is 10:30 each and every night. This allows me a minimum of 7-8 hours a night. You are doing the math and thinking 7 hours – that’s 5:30am! Surely, you are NOT a morning person! You are correct. I have never been a morning person, but as I have begun to train my body to head to bed earlier, I’m finding waking in the morning to not only be refreshing, but productive.
I can actually take the time to get a bit of a jump-start on my day. My one small change is giving my body the sleep it needs, providing me with more energy for the day ahead and allowing me to be more productive – which is exactly one of the reasons I was staying up so late to begin with. This small shift is making an incredible difference in my world, and I’m hopeful, in my health as well. I’d really like to continue to be around for my small people.