Saturday, October 6, 2012

thirty days...

I'm a magazine hoarder. 

Okay, so not in the "I have piles stacked everywhere that date back to the 70's and I have to build a path to find my way through my house" sense of hoarding.

More like a "I don't really need to subscribe to another magazine because I don't read them all but it was such a fantastic bargain that I couldn't help myself" kind of hoarder.

Luckily, I am getting better.....I decided I'm only going to keep two subscriptions renewed.  That's progress.  I also spent some time this summer going through a portion of my magazines, ripping out articles that I may want to refer back to, a recipe that I wanted to try, or design ideas for my house.  I even created a filing system for these pages-- so I'm on the road to Operation Magazine Declutter entering its final stages.

If you can't tell, I'm pretty proud of myself.

So....during this process of ripping and recycling, I found an article on sleep issues.  You know, the usual.....Americans are sleep-deprived, our health is affected by this, etc.   I'll be the first to admit that I know I'm sleep-deprived, I know I stay up too late, and I know that it's all going to "catch up to me".
Which is why I ripped out this article and didn't file it away.....I read it.  

One of the things that stuck out to me is how technology is having a negative effect on our quality of sleep.  It makes sense, right?  Staring at a computer screen or at my iPhone right before bed.....probably not helping my brain and my body relax. 

And I was guilty-- of emailing, going on Facebook, Pinterest browsing, Instagram-checking, and playing games on my phone.....all up until the point I turned off my nightstand lamp and closed my eyes.    It is no wonder I had trouble falling asleep right away.....even though I was exhausted, it was late, and I knew my alarm was going to go off at 6.   

I decided to try something new-- stay off technology after 11.  For some of you, this may seem late.  For me, it's early.....but that's another challenge in the works.   I thought if I can do this for thirty days, it will be a habit.  And honestly, I have been really strict about it.  Yes, I "fell off the wagon" a couple times, mostly on the weekends or because I lost track of time-- but I got right back to it the next night.  It's actually been over thirty days, and I'm still sticking with it.  I'm a little more lenient on the weekends (hence the time I'm finishing up this post), but I also don't need to wake up so early.

So this leads into my next thirty day challenge-- to start going to bed five minutes earlier every night until I get to the point where I get at least seven hours of sleep a night.  That's going to require an adjustment in the technology rule.....I'll need to stop at 10:00 instead of 11:00.....gasp!   I can do this, I can do this......:)

A few benefits I've noticed since I've started this challenge:

**I started reading regularly again- right before bed, I have read a chapter or two. During the school year, I've never been a book-reader (for pleasure) because of how late I stayed up. With this added amount of time before bed, I've made it a habit to read......and I just finished a book last night!
**I'm not as tired in the morning.  It used to be that when I was driving to work, I would have a hard time keeping myself awake (okay, so not like falling-asleep-at-the-wheel tired, but definitely drowsy).   Now I'm much more alert during that morning drive.
**I am more alert and aware of things going on in my classroom.  Definitely a bonus for classroom management!  :)
**I've been able to fall asleep earlier-- which will help with my next challenge as well.
**I haven't had any issues with waking up in the middle of the night....well, except for the first day of school.  But that was just because I was afraid I wouldn't hear one of my three alarms and I'd be late for the first day! 

I'd encourage you to find something in your life that you need to change into a healthy habit......and try it for thirty days.  If you do, let me know how it goes! 


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