Photos and text by Gabrielle. This post is brought to you by Sleep Number®.
Have you ever been asked the ice-breaker question: If you never had to eat again, but could remain healthy, or you never had to sleep again, but could remain healthy, which one would you rather give up?
I remember the first time I was asked this, I shouted, “I would give up food!” before the question was even finished. I like food very much, but I LOVE sleep. I flat out adore it. I love the chance to turn my brain off, I love the clean slate, fresh start feeling in the morning, and I love knowing my body can focus on repairing itself while I sleep, because I’m not asking it to do anything else. I simply love my sleep!
Related, I’m happy to tell you, I recently partnered with Sleep Number®, and over the rest of this year, I’m going to be sharing 4 posts about sleep related topics. In case you’re not familiar, Sleep Number, is THE sleep innovation leader. Their aim is to deliver the best possible sleep experience, and they achieve that goal by offering high-quality products and services, all based on their extensive research into quality sleep. In fact, the Sleep Number bed was named best bed for couples, and ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Mattresses” by J.D. Power. I’m delighted to be working with them, and as you can guess, I’m super psyched I get to write about sleep!
For this first post, I want to talk about sleep in terms of wellness. Yes, it’s common knowledge that sleep is crucial to a healthy lifestyle. But getting enough sleep sometimes feels like wishful thinking at best, and the last priority at worst. If you feel like you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re not alone — according to a Sleep Number survey 54% of American’s don’t feel they’re getting enough sleep!
When we’re thinking of wellness, we typically talk about food and exercise — and maybe a centering practice like meditation or yoga. Sleep often doesn’t even get mentioned in the conversation, or if it does, it’s just a blanket statement like, you should get enough sleep. Not very helpful. And probably some of that is because everyone seems to have different needs when it comes to sleep.
For me, there’s a direct connection between getting enough sleep and staying healthy — a connection I’ve sadly demonstrated to myself many times over the years. If I go more than two nights without adequate sleep (meaning 8+ hours), I will for sure get a sore throat. And if I keep pushing myself, I’ll enter full blown sick mode. So I can tell you that I truly value my sleep. But you and I have both met people (maybe you’re one of them!) who do fine on 6 or 7 hours.
There are so many different habits when it comes to sleep. Some people love naps. Some people dread nighttime because insomnia takes over. Some people get up early, no alarm needed. Some people drag through their mornings until caffeine kicks in. Some people are deep sleepers (raising my hand here). Some people get up in the night regularly. Some people like to snuggle during the night. Some people can only sleep if no one is touching them.
When I think back to our new baby years, by far the hardest thing for me was not getting enough sleep — trying to function normally, without adequate rest, felt like torture. So getting my babies to sleep through the night was a major priority for me. But I’ve met plenty of parents who barely seem to mind the night wakings at all.
I want to hear what sleep means to you and I’ve got a few questions:
1) On a scale of 1 to 10, ten being the most important, how do you value your sleep? I can tell you sleep is a full-stop 10 for me!
2) What are your favorite ways to fall asleep if your mind is going a mile a minute when you fall into bed? Do you read? Count sheep? One of my favorite ways is making a list — once everything in my head is on paper, I can usually relax more easily.
3) Do you bring your phone to bed? I much prefer plugging it in to the charger and walking away for the night.
4) Do you sleep in pjs? Underwear? Bare naked? With socks? Without socks? Do you ever fall asleep in your clothes?
5) How much sleep do you think your particular body prefers each night? If I’m getting enough sleep and letting myself wake up naturally, 8.5 hours seems to be what my body wants. Though I’ve been told I’ll crave less as I get older.
6) How strict are you about going to bed clean — brushed teeth, makeup off, contacts soaking, etc.?
I always love to hear what you have to say!
P.S. — I recently visited a Sleep Number store and found out what my personal Sleep Number® setting is. It was fun, and I learned a whole bunch about sleep patterns and what wakes us up at night. If you’d like to visit a store, here’s a link to find the closest one.