Friday, August 01, 2008

The Gift of Sleep

God had a really good idea when he came up with sleep! I have to say, I really do love sleeping.

Perhaps I appreciate it a bit more because I've often had difficulties with my sleeping. Most notably, I've struggled with nightmares off and on for much of my life. The nightmares are graphic and disturbing. When I have a nightmare, I frequently wake up in the morning feeling as though I've been running all night long. In other words, I'm exhausted and feel completely unrested.

It's true that when you live without something, you are more apt to sincerely appreciate it when you finally catch hold of it. Any night that I have a solid, restful night's sleep is a miracle for me. I revel in it as a gift, and I'm always sure to give thanks for it in the morning.

I don't know about you, but when I'm well rested, the world just looks better to me. I feel better and my outlook is immeasurably brighter! I feel like I can take on the world and do what needs to be done. When I'm tired things look bleaker and more daunting. I feel unmotivated and uninspired to do much of anything. It can seem like a challenge just to get through the day.

I've put a lot of research and effort into securing good sleep for myself. I do things like trying to 'wind down' for the hour before I go to bed. I'm not always religious about this, but it is my goal. It makes a difference.

By far the biggest difference for me, however, has been in paying attention to my caffeine consumption. I'm an iced tea junkie, so that is where my biggest temptation comes. What I've learned, however, is that there is a direct coorelation between the quality of my sleep and the amount of caffeine that I take in. I have even noticed a link between my nightmares and my caffeine consumption. The interesting part is, that I might be able to get to sleep just fine, which would lead one to believe they hadn't had 'too much' caffeine, but in my case that isn't really the critical factor. I seem to have a 'threshold' that if I cross it, with regards to how much caffeine is in my system, my sleep quality is disturbed and I start waking up with that 'icky' feeling in the morning - kind of like an emotional hangover.

It amazes me that I can still allow my caffeine consumption to 'creep up' into the red zone, with all the knowledge I have about its negative affects on me. Yet, it happens. I had a couple bad nights of nightmares this past week, and had to 'reign in' my tea drinking, once again. Now I'm back to normal. My past two nights of sleep have been blissful, restive and nightmare free. I'm again back to my place of marveling at the gift of good sleep.

If you have trouble sleeping, I encourage you to seek a resolution with every ounce of your determination. There is simply nothing that makes life better faster than sleeping well!

Happy snoozing!

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