Archive for tag: sleep

Things Are Moving Forward

"I should be asleep." This is what I say to myself at hours like this -- around O-dark-thirty when I'm still up working on something. "I should be sawing logs or whatever people are supposed to be doing at this hour... instead I'm here."

This last week has been a week for the record. I finished my master's degree. I don't know how I did it -- but I did it. I honestly don't know how I worked, had any part in my kids' lives, was full-time here at National, and full-time at Western States. But I did. And now it's over. I haven't quite come down from it all just yet -- but the moment I realized I didn't have anything left to do, my head kind of dropped. While most people would be ecstatic, I was sullen. What do I do now? Now, granted -- I have absolutely no shortage of things to do, read, study, learn, attend, aspire to, whatever. But no one is making me -- but me.

On Friday of last week, I also sent in my paperwork for my Oregon license. And all last week, when I wasn't studying for or taking master's finals, I was working on the bridge course to be able to sit for the licensing exam, which takes place the day after graduation. In all of my "down" time, all I could think to myself was -- what am I going to do now? Where am I going to go? What am I going to do? I have to find a job. I have to move. I have to...

Sometimes we get so busy that all we do -- is do. And as those old parts of my mind started to wander back in, you know, the parts that think about stuff -- I started to get more and more scared. This is it. Things are happening. Things are actually happening.

Grey came back from Orlando, where he was competing in the FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) state competition (He won 5th in his category -- which is kinda a big deal). He told me a story that made me cry -- in the middle of the grocery store. He told me about this guy -- Alex Sheen, who spoke at the FBLA ceremony with thousands of high school kids from all over the state. Grey said that there was barely a dry eye in the place. And I can see why. Alex started the organization "because I said I would." Here's his story:

It made me think about what promises I might make at this point in my life. I'm at such a point of transition -- finishing school, Grey going to college, moving across the country, starting a new profession...

In the quiet moments, at the clinic, we talk about what life will be like when we're not around each other anymore. We've spent nearly every day together for the last three and a half years. Even when we still had breaks in between trimesters we would often text or email each other, or sometimes hang out. I'd like to make a promise to my close classmates that I won't lose touch and completely disappear, as I'm apt to do.

Things are moving forward. Even though we might not all be in the same place, I hope that we move forward together. After all, we've been together so long that we're family.

Have a great week, everyone!

Surviving Midterms

I'm not sure I can ever top last week's blog. Special thanks to my classmates for the inspiration. We're already talking about a follow-up.

Midterms are upon us and we are in the throes of studying. While many of us are pulling all-nighters (and some all-weekenders), I feel like I need to remind everyone how important sleep is. I have been suffering from insomnia--for weeks. I'm not one to spend a whole lot of time sleeping, normally--but ever since my move, I've been sleeping less and less. So, I thought I'd share some of my tips for working on sleep. Here we go (see, I put you to sleep already). 

2013-06-18_sunset

Clear Your Space

This is the absolute most important tip I could give, and the one I've benefited most from myself. Make sure there's as little in the way as possible. Get rid of the clutter; get rid of the dirty clothes (I know there's no time for laundry--it's midterms!); get rid of anything in your space that isn't conducive to sleep. This includes workout equipment, study materials, etc. Granted, if the only space available is the bedroom, some concessions can be made. Cover it up. It also helps to remove the TV, if at all possible. 

Set the Mood

Make it dark--REALLY dark. I had way too much light coming into my space, so I acquired some light blocking curtains. I still see daylight in the morning, but at least I don't feel like I'm looking at the surface of the sun. Also, making sure the bed is the most comfy place to sleep in the house is key. The only place I was falling asleep, was the couch.

Set Up a Routine

Whatever it is, make a routine for going to bed. Brush the teeth, wash the face, turn on some chill-out music--whatever works to get calmed down. Try not to turn on the TV. Some people like to work out in the evening. I can't work out and sleep within a few hours of each other. If I'm going to go to the gym at night, it has to be before 8pm. Working out helps with energy during the day and also with sleep at night, but it's not a good idea right before bed. 

Food

No snacking within a couple of hours of bed. It's bad for the metabolism and having sugar spikes when it's time to calm down is a no-go. Don't try to sleep within 2-3 hours of eating. 

Other

Last but not least, if sleep is still a real struggle, there are some fantastic herbs that will help with sleeping. Some old standbys are catnip, chamomile, and valerian. Other than the chamomile (be careful those with ragweed allergies), I tend to avoid Catnip and Valerian. I avoid Catnip because I have to fight the cats for it, and Valerian because of the side effects. 

I made a nice herb/tonic with rhodiola (adaptogen for stress), lemon balm (nervine, sedative), and white peony (nervine, calming agent). It knocked me right out. It was just enough sedation and calming for me to have two doses and then it reset my clock, and now I'm sleeping better. I also didn't wake up with the "hangover" that Valerian is apt to give. 

Remember that sleep is extremely important for memory--especially good sleep. We need those four phases of sleep to be able to, not only replenish our bodies, but also our minds. 

So, until next week -- Happy Sleeping (and Studying).