Category Archives: Goals

Only Child on sleep deprivation

Only child nodding off?

Only child nodding off?

“To sleep, perchance to dream -ay, there’s the rub” William Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet. I’m not too concerned about dreams, but have a more serious “rub.”

Getting enough sleep.

Many of us have that problem for whatever reason – too much to do, health issues keeping us awake, stress, noise, etc.

I guess my situation comes under the too much to do category. With

one of the others as a result of not getting enough sleep – health issues acting up.

At the top of my life goal list right now is getting more sleep at night. I need at least seven hours, preferable seven and a half hours, something I’m  not getting except sometimes on weekends. I’m reading Gretchen Rubin’s latest book Better than Before on how to change your habits. Some good points here and I like her narrative style instead of the “do this/do that” format.

What are the culprits here? Too much of what I call “housework shit” that drags out until late at night. That could include washing dishes (no dishwasher, no space for one in the kitchen and can’t afford one), refilling the portable humidifiers (a winter chore), moving the ice cream to the freezer downstairs (the fridge-top freezer like many of them – and this is not an old fridge – doesn’t freeze the ice cream enough), etc., etc. -the list goes on. Sometimes I see the pile of newspapers and magazines on the coffee table and decide I need to read a bit to catch up. Also one thing I enjoy doing, but not late at night – watering the plants.

I also fall asleep in front of the TV, usually during the 11 p.m. news and that could be a result from not enough sleep the previous night. It finally catches up.

Interestingly, there is an article  posted on the Bell Loop page today. The title alone This is what you should eat to guarantee a good night’s sleep (science says so) is enough to put you to sleep. Maybe say it mentally instead of counting sheep when trying to enter the land of nod? The article references a recent study where 26 people for five nights followed separate diets – if they ate lots of fibre they fell asleep on average in 17 minutes and if they ate what they wanted, i.e., foods high in sugar and saturated fats and maybe some low fibre, it took them an average of 29 minutes to get to sleep.

Hmm. I have a few bones to pick (not eating them, of course) with that. First, the number of participants and time-line of the study are both low. Most studies have more people and go on for a longer period of time. Also, did these people fall asleep in bed or in front of the TV? And I question the sugar content in part. Depends on what the sugar is in. Candy, cakes, donuts – yes, will probably give you a sugar high and keep you awake.

But the food I eat some evenings containing sugar is ice cream. And that makes me sleepy. Ice cream contains milk, which I learned long ago acts like a sedative. No, I’m not going to heat up plain milk – I would just want to add chocolate powder anyway.

And what about caffeine? That sure keeps you awake. Study doesn’t address that one.

Me, I’m going to stick to my ice cream (albeit maybe I should eat it at 11 p.m. just when the news starts instead of a few hours earlier in the evening). I need to reduce some of these evening chores or get them done way before 11 p.m. – even when I go out in the evening. Then I might stay awake for 20- 30 minutes of news and weather from 11 p.m.. I like to watch 20 minutes of news and the long weather report on one channel and when they start into the long sportscast (remember I am not a sports fan). I switch over to the weather network for their longer up-to-date forecast on the 10s. And try not to keep watching all the weather news. I am a weather freak.

The study was conducted by Columbia University Medical Center and you can read a summary about that here.

What do you think?

Please comment. Any tips on getting more sleep?

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Goals, Health, Only child, Sleep and Health, Sleep deprivation, Time management

Only Child looks at the old and new year

Only Child contemplates changing for new year

Only Child contemplates changes for the new year

Carpe Diem!

The world is still here despite predictions of otherwise for late 2012. So, I am here too and starting out this new year with good intentions and goals. My modus operandi for 2013 is to live creatively, efficiently, simply, frugally and be healthy. In there I will also try to help my friends who need it most and perhaps be more grateful for what I have, but I’m still expressing my non-gratitude for what is lacking that I need because it is here I can possibly find ways to change. One of the latter is time, which went way out of control in 2012 and that can’t happen anymore. I’m a year older and need to rein in my time and what I do and will not do in it.

Today I’m especially conscious of making the most of 2013 one day at a time after talking with a friend on the phone last evening. To respect her privacy I’m not naming her or describing her situation except to say, like me, she is an only person (but she does have siblings in another country). She also faced serious health issues last year and continues to do so this year. She is someone I want to help where I can – despite her stubbornness and independence. She does realize her situation is a wake-up call for change and has already embarked on making changes.

Talking with her also reinforced what I have to do – make changes. This is my year of transition in work and personal before the beginning of 2014 when I can finally start receiving the Old Age Pension (I wish the Canadian Government would change the name). But that’s for next year.

This year, I will do what the late John Lennon did – try to live one day at a time.

Happy New Year. May we all know what our necessary changes are and have the courage to make these changes daily.

And read the book 18Minutes by Peter Bregman to get some ideas where to start. See http://peterbregman.com/18-minutes/ for more information.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Balance, Carpe Diem, Family and Friends, Goals, Health, Only child, Peter Bregman, Sharon A. Crawford, Time management

Only Child will get her sleep

Only Child in her office – getting down to business with work and sleep.

My mind has turned to mush. I forget where I put things; I forget to do things; things get mixed up, and some things go and stay missing.

Am I losing my mind?

Maybe?

Is it Alzheimer’s?

Probably not.

My immune system is also down and I have a low-level cold (at this point). And I’ve been getting to bed too late (or too early if you figure the time after midnight in a.m.). So, it’s sleep deprivation. Because I have not been carousing all over town until the wee hours of the morning, that’s not it. The root cause of all this is doing too much – a lot of that I blame on being the only person here who has to do and/or organize everything. Can’t do anything about that now (no time and no money) but there is something I can and will do.

TAKE BACK MY SLEEP TIME.

Studies show that sleep deprivation affects both physical health and mental health, particularly cognitive performance. Your short-term memory and even your long-term memory can take a nosedive and your decision-making abilities can go out the window. According to a study, Sleep Deprivation: Impact on Cognitive Performance by Paula Alhola and Paivi Polo-Kantola (Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 2007), not getting sufficient zzz’s regularly can impair lots more, including your mood. See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC265629 for the long list of sleep deprivation effects and the references to corresponding studies. It’s enough to make you want to crawl under the covers and never come out.

I’m not going that far but some things got to go or at least slow down. Consider last week where (among other things) I did/had to deal with the following:

  1. My handyman finally showing up – on a work day. It interfered with my work time and because he was one and a quarter hour late, not everything got done. I forgive myself for being really grumpy then. He deserved it (if you remember from previous posts he had cancelled a Saturday appointment).
  2. Juggling client work and meetings (in person) and via email and phone with new clients (not complaining here. I need and like the work. I’m taking it in the context of what else was happening).
  3. Trying to do end-of-season garden cleanup plus protect vulnerable plants from cold weather/frost with our yo-yo weather (that is the nature of gardening, but again I’m taking it in context with everything else).
  4. Doing readings from my book, including out-of-town (this I like doing), attending all day workshops on Saturday (my East End Writers’ Group sponsored it so I had to be there even though I felt sick).
  5. Plus the regular daily stuff – cooking and cleaning up (although I cook extra on weekends and leave what little “big” cleaning jobs I do until weekends).
  6. Etc., etc., etc.

That’s only part of it. Not getting done was phoning friends as promised, more clearing out of my office (I did do some so I have room for new client files). This week started out with a malfunctioning CD/DVD drive in my desktop computer so my computer tech was just here this morning. The drive wasn’t dead yet but something in it was loose so it was headed to the DVD/CD drive cemetery. My techie replaced it and then I found out his rates went up – but he gave me a discount because I didn’t know and he wasn’t here for a full hour. So, I gave him a post-dated cheque because like most freelancers I’m waiting for another cheque to come in. I also have a whopping house insurance premium (over $1,000 for the next year) due the beginning of next week.

Seems no matter what you do you can’t crawl out from under it.

Except for my sleep deprivation. I’m determined to get at least my required seven and a quarter hours of sleep each night. So, I have to get strict and maybe even a little nasty. My plan?

Put myself first.

Say “no” to many things including some social and business events, particularly where it involves me helping someone else. I’m doing too much of that (mainly in the business end) and spreading myself too thin.

Delete more email – some without first reading the email – just go by the subject and the sender. I don’t mean obvious spam. I’m doing some of this but I will up it.

Stick more to my daily schedule – I do daily schedules but don’t always follow them – now it will be to-the-letter barring extreme unforeseen circumstances. This means clients will have to get in line to get their work done if they want it done properly.

Don’t beat myself if I don’t have time to return friends’ and business phone calls and emails. I will get to it – when I have time.

Don’t get sidetracked by other things – especially those that don’t really interest me and/or aren’t pertinent.

Pace myself in what I do.

Take breaks and leisure time.

And get enough sleep.

Excuse me while I go to the next item on today’s “to do” list.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Aloneness, Balance, Cognitive disorders, Gardening, Goals, Health, Lists, No, Overwhelm, Prioritizing, Sharon A. Crawford, Sleep deprivation, Stress, to do list

Only Child deciphers New Year’s resolutions

Only Child and Mom before the arthritis took its toll on Mom

I learned a couple of startling things when compiling my New  Year’s resolutions on Sunday. Over the last few years I’ve developed an interest in weather forecasts and in the last month of 2011, in consumer advocacy and problem solving. The other revelation, which also occurred when emailing a friend, was the bond between money and health.

Oh! Oh! Does that mean I have to add these two interests into an already full plan? I can’t see me as a meteorologist (maybe in another incarnation) but the consumer advocacy one bears considering. So does the bond between money and health because this connection has followed me for more years than I care to remember…maybe even back to my growing-up days when my late mom who was such a super budget-financial caretaker, also had health concerns – first my dad’s several bouts with cancer (plus an ulcer and a minor heart attack), then, her own arthritis after Dad died. By that time, Mom had returned to work as a typist for an insurance company, then had to switch to proof-reader when her arthritic fingers got in her job’s way. She was off for a few weeks because the arthritis had spread to a foot and an ankle. I remember coming home from my business school class and finding two of her employers (former colleagues years before I came along) and the conversation was disturbing. As I write in my memoir:

She [Mom] is on a mini-leave of absence, when one day I walk into the house and find two strange men with her in the living room. They’re both sitting on the chesterfield, one on either side of its designed split. Mom is in the pink chair by the bookcase as if the World Books standing guard behind can lift her up beyond the swollen foot propped on a footstool. The conversation stops and the two men stare at me with blank smiles on their faces.

“This is Peter McLaren* and this is John Vardis* from Surety Insurance*.” My Mom points to each. “This is my daughter, Sharon.”

“Hello,” I say as I sit down in the chair under the window.

The men say, “Hello,” and nod, and then McLaren continues the conversation.

“Julia,” he says. “I know you are a valuable employee but we need to know if you are coming back to work.”

“I don’t like to say it, but I have to,” Vardis says. “It might be better if you retired now.” He addresses the mantle.

“Let’s not be hasty, John,” McLaren says, and then looks Mom right in the eye. “Julia, do you think you will be able to come back?”

“I don’t know.” Mom’s voice is wispy and little girlish.

I just sit, grinning and gripping the arms of the chair. I don’t even have the courage to wish one of the men would shuffle around in the chesterfield so it would move at the split. That might jolt them, although into what I don’t know.

(Excerpted from You Can Go Home – Deconstructing the Demons, copyright 2011 Sharon Crawford)

*Names changed to protect the innocent and the guilty.

Perhaps the “jolt” today for me and everyone else is to consider what is most important in our life and what we can do about it this year. If I don’t want to continue the “family curse” on Mom’s side of the family, I need to consider my health. And like my Mom, money is so connected with my health. Without good health I cannot work; without money I cannot do all I need to do for my health. Anyone who thinks government health insurance will look after all health issues, think again. Anyone who signs up for private health insurance and thinks that will solve the issue, think again. Most of these private health insurance plans cover no more than 80 percent and have a payout cap. Options are a la carte, making monthly premiums high. Is it better to pay the piper in premiums or pay the piper up front for each health treatment, supplement, etc.? If you have a partner with a health plan from his or her employment (usually partially funded by the employer), you might be better off with the private health plan…for now. If you are an only person like me, especially self-employed, maybe not.

You decide.

For the money end, I’m looking into several options, once considered controversial, but becoming more common as we aging boomers near retirement and find out it’s not all Florida, Mexico, Arizona and easy-living. Depending on your age, you might want to consider applying for Canada Pension Plan payments before you turn 65 (in Canada. Starting this year, you can still work and apply and receive CPP, as well as continue to pay into the plan). You might also want to consider cashing in some of your RRSPs (if you have any), downsizing your residence, etc.

My point is, consider these issues (rather than the usual lose weight and exercise ones, although they are also worthy). We aren’t getting any younger and sometimes thinking outside the box can work.

Comments anyone?

Cheers.

Sharon Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Arthritis, Canada Pension Plan, Goals, Health, Health Insurance, Money, New year's resolutions, Only child memoir, RRSPs, Sharon Crawford