Managing Emotional Health| Why Is Sleep Important?

Managing Emotional Health| Why Is Sleep Important?

Managing Emotional Health

My dream is to live a long independent life, grow fabulously grey and be an asset to my family as our sons raise children of their own. Pretty much I want to be an Urban Nana. A super fit and active Nana who enjoys her grandkids. I also want to accomplish financial independence and abundance through work that satisfies my heart's calling. To reach my goal I follow a health plan affectionately called, The “Family First, Business Second, But Really, Me First!” Plan. 

But really, Me First Plan” because even though having a loving family is my main goal in life and having a successful career is second, I won’t be any good for anyone or anything if I’m in poor health or dead! This requires me to manage my physical, emotional and social health as my top priority! 

The emotional aspect of my health will be maintained by managing my sleep hygiene and practicing other healthy stress relief activities. Why is sleep important to my emotional health? According to “The Dark Night: The Casual Relationship Between Lack of Sleep and Mood Disorders” by Sarah Deweerdt (2013); “There is ample evidence that sleep and mood are entangled at the very root. People who sleep poorly are more likely to develop depression than those who sleep well.”  Additionally, earlier in this course I learned the horrible side effects of not getting enough sleep. The list included “memory problems, depression, a weakening of your immune system, increasing your chance of becoming sick [and an] increase in perception of pain. (WebMD 2016)”. After learning that I conducted an experiment where I implemented the suggestions of sleep hygiene.

 I set a consistent bedtime, which allowed me to be in bed one hour before I actually needed to fall asleep. During that time, I listened to guided meditations which helped me drift off into sleep. I cut off my caffeine intake at lunch time each day and even purchased two new pajama sets to make changing into bedclothes a pleasurable routine. The results were amazing! For the first time in a very long time I fell asleep easily and stayed asleep all night! I felt a lot less agitated during the day and seemed able to bounce back more easily from obstacles during the day. 

My personal victory with improving my sleep and thus improving my mood was substantiated by Deweerdt when she wrote that patients of hers who kept regular schedules for waking, eating, socializing and going to sleep “seem[ed] to be protected against new episodes of bipolar disorder” and such consistent sleep helped people come out of their depression more quickly (Deweerdt 2013). Since starting the experiment I haven’t gone back to my old, unorganized ways of getting to sleep. I will continue to manage my sleep hygiene and stay committed to my bedtime.
 Learning healthier ways to handle my stress is another way I intend to manage my emotional health. According to the CDC, “Coping with Stress”, (2018) “stress can be beneficial. It can help people develop the skills they need to deal with possible threatening situations throughout life. Stress is not helpful when it prevents a person from taking care of themselves or their family”. In the past I smoked cigarettes to deal with stress, I also relied on alcohol to calm my nerves. Neither of these were healthy ways to cope. They actually exasperated the issues. I would end up feeling more stressed over the self-destructive behaviors I was engaging in!  

Moving forward, I will rely more heavily on yoga, journaling and taking walks to cope with my stress. The way I incorporate these activities into my lifestyle is simple. I have always enjoyed writing and have cute notebooks scattered all over the house. Whenever I just have to write something there is a pad within arm’s reach. I also have an ongoing “Google Doc” named “Journal” where I keep a diary of what is going on with me. Also, as a result of getting better sleep and adhering to a wake schedule, I am able to journal in the mornings before my family gets out of bed! My next goal is to add a fifteen-minute daily yoga practice to my morning routine. Yoga is dear to my heart and prior to having children, I would take classes in a studio. The knowledge and love of the practice has stayed with me so I just pull out my mat and strike a pose whenever I feel like it. Becoming more consistent with my practice is a commitment I am making to myself so I can again reap the amazing benefits of it.

Next Step Social & Economic Health

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