Monday, April 10, 2023

Writers and sleep - by Vijaya Schartz

 Every time the subject of sleep emerges in a conversation, I get different opinions. Sources differ about what’s not enough, what’s right, or what’s too much.

Recent studies on children have demonstrated that shortening sleep by 40 minutes adds significant stress to a child’s day. Adults who don’t sleep enough are also stressed… and stress affects the mood and the immune system.

I used to sleep 8 hours or more each night. Then I was told it was too much, so I reduced my sleep to the standard 7 hours. Soon, I realized it wasn’t enough. My body craved more.

Sleep quality is also a factor. Thanks to Yoga, Meditation, and Tai-Chi, as soon as my head hits the pillow, I’m in dreamland. Eliminating noise and light also contributed to better sleep.

Still. 7 hours weren’t enough. I realized I needed 7.5 hours minimum to feel refreshed and ready to face the new day.

I now understand that despite varying medical guidelines, each person is different and has different needs. It also depends on how much coffee you drink. I only have one large mug in the morning, and no caffeine during the day.

Screen time can also affect the quality of your sleep, so turn off the TV, the cell phone, or the kindle ½ hour before bed time. Warm milk also helps.

I used to be a night owl. But over the years, I discovered that I was more productive and inspired to write in the morning. So, I had to discipline myself to go to bed earlier.

Don’t tell me I sleep too much for an adult. I sleep just the right amount to be healthy, happy, and inspired. That’s what works for me.

So, don’t listen to the nay-sayers. Everyone should find their own balance in life. Sleep, work, recreation. That’s the secret of happiness. Cats already figured it out. 

I wish you all the sleep of the just.

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Vijaya Schartz, award-winning author

Strong Heroines, Brave Heroes, cats

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