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How much sleep do you get?

By November 12, 2008 - 10:08am
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Do you get enough sleep?

It seems like nearly every health condition and every mental health condition benefits from the proper amount of sleep, and we hear about it frequently in news reports. And still, no one I know is regularly getting the right amount of sleep.

My college-age niece is doing what college students do: study, go out with friends, stay up until all hours and then head to class in the morning. My thirtysomething friends who are mothers are lucky if they get half a night's sleep regularly. And anyone who's in pre-menopause, menopause or beyond seems to look at a long night's sleep as something reserved for memories only.

Here's a story on what it does to our bodies when we don't get enough sleep:


I find personally that the more active I am during the day, the better I sleep at night. But I'm still not getting 8 hours of the deep, restorative sleep that doctors want us all to have.

Do you sleep well? Do you sleep enough?

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HERWriter Guide

Oh Alison, I could not agree with you more!

As a 30-something mother of 3 toddlers, I think women my age 'compete' ALL the time over who is more stressed, who is more tired and who has more on their plate. It drives me batty!

Being at the end of our rope does seem to be a badge of honor. I have often said that our parents competed over who had the best life - now our generation seems to compete over who has the worst!

I am one of those mothers who does NOT get enough sleep and most of it is my own fault.

I stay up too late, cleaning, painting (as in, art, not home decor!) catching up on a show I have taped, or writing.

Our 3 small kids are in bed by 8.30pm and sleep through the night, now that our 2 year old is no longer nursing etc. After they go down we have at least an hour of laundry, cleaning etc to do, which is normal. But I tend to over-clean, over-organize and over-do things in general and I have a really difficult time calming down and being able to relax. I have a lot of difficulty watching a 30 minute show on television and trying something like yoga is impossible because I cannot sit down or lie down for more than a few minutes. I have often wondered if I may have a kind of adult ADHD. I don't go to the movies often either - perhaps once a year - because of the difficulty I have sitting for 90 or so minutes.

But I digress - I don't think many of us are so important that we need to spend 80 hours a week at the office and if we are so involved in activities that we neglect our sleep, then we need to drop the activities. There is no need for me to paint at 11pm or be on my laptop, unless something is due, which is not often that I am that that close to a deadline. And sick kids aside (and when that happens - UGH!) I, like you said, should manage at least 7 hours per night.

I simply need to be more disciplined and get myself to bed by 11pm. If I did, I could sleep until my husband gets up at 6.45am.

I feel so much better with good sleep, my skin feels better and on and on. In fact, I going to stop waffling to myself about turning out the lights earlier and just do it. And I will report in a week to see if I can walk the walk and not just talk the talk!

November 14, 2008 - 1:42pm

Thanks for sharing the article! I guess I should know better, we all do, but why don't we DO IT!!! Well, I have noticed that due to my caregiver duties (caring from my hubby who has ALS)in the past 2 years and being in my late 40s I have depleted my body from the benefits of a good night sleep and a normal sleeping routine. I recently hired a night shift caregiver so I could get a restful sleep. I noticed that I wake up a lot throughout the night because my brain is on alert at all times thinking whether my husband who is on a vent now is breathing OK. I think the key to sleeping is to achieve the ideal stage of sleep to get the benefits of this human activity. Here is a great link to learn mroe about Sleep Stages http://www.sleepdisorderchannel.com/stages/index.shtml

My goal is to "dream" and get enough brain rest to stay functional. I also must break the bad habit is staying up past midnight. Melatonim production goes down if we do not use it. This hormone is produced by the brain as soon as the sun goes down (our bodies are so wise!) and it signals the brain that is is time to sleep. If we ignore it, then the production will drop. Supplements of melatonim will improve the quality of your sleep even if it is for 4 hours. I take 2mg every other night.

November 13, 2008 - 10:48pm

I think I am the only person who DOES get enough sleep, on most nights!

I actually have a theory about this, too. It's almost like someone asking you if you are "stressed". There is really only one "real" answer, because if you say "no" (and who does?), then it comes off as you being "better than" for some reason. Being "stressed" in this society is like a badge of honor. Same with sleep. It becomes an office competition who got less sleep and is still standing.

I am a 30-something with a toddler, and can actually say that I get 8 hours of sleep 4-5 days per week. Sometimes even 7 days per week, if there is no illness or teething going on! I go to bed at 11pm and wake up at 7am. Is that abnormal??! Not too late getting to bed, but not "early", either. I know some moms who get up at 6am with their kids...they could still get 7 hours of sleep if they got to bed "late" at 11pm! I guess, the hours just don't add up in my head (is "everyone" getting to sleep at 2am and up at 6am? I can't imagine that is true).

I understand the college lifestyle of staying up all night with friends or studying. But the rest of us...are people really getting up earlier than 6am? Are they really getting to bed later than midnight? Why? Are they on the computer or watching TV? Is their house meticulous and they are cleaning into the wee hours? Are they having meaningful conversations with their spouses/partners every night? Are they getting work done, that wasn't able to get done between 8-5pm?. I can't imagine the majority of our society has sleep disorders, such as insomnia, or other medical conditions (menopause, etc), which is why I'm asking the battery of questions.

Help me understand! Why do I seem to be in the minority of people, moms with toddlers at that, who actually sleep? (Don't get me wrong: for 3 months straight I slept 2-3 hours/night with an infant. When my son is sick, I'm lucky to get 5 hours of sleep. I've had my bad sleep moments).

To sound like a grumpy old man for a moment (sorry for the stereotype), and I am speaking to the MAJORITY of individuals out there, not the exceptions or individuals with special/extraordinary circumstances. I am also not referring to individuals with medical reasons (menopause, for example):
- are the kid(s) keeping you awake? if so, are they sleep deprived, too?
- is office work keeping you awake? if so, are you really that important that you are needed 80 hours every week?
- is house work keeping you awake? if so, do you have the most thoroughly cleansed house on the block, or do you not have enough help/support?
- are you spending oodles of time at the computer and/or TV? if so, stop and go to sleep!

My bottom line is: do we really have a sleep problem, or do we have a problem with people letting go of work, cleaning, TV-watching or other task?

November 13, 2008 - 2:49pm
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