8 Hours a Night

I was sleep deprived in 11th grade. I barely remember anything from it. I used to struggle to stay awake while driving around town. I definitely fell asleep in a few classes.

Skin picking had something to do with it – I lost at least one hour a night, usually more, to this activity. I had to get up earlier and earlier because in the morning, I was so dead it took me forever to get ready for school.

Art and procrastination had something to do with it to – I would pull all nighters to finish paintings (I went to a hybrid art-academic school). I think the only reason I survived was by sleeping through the weekend and drinking Vault (anyone remember that stuff?).

Of course, that wasn’t sustainable. I learned to factor in at least 6-7 hours a night and felt pretty good for a long time.

When I went Paleo to heal my acne, I started looking at lifestyle factors I could change. I started aiming for 8 hours of sleep and usually succeeded and felt awesome.

And then I tried to gain weight. I was eating more sweet potatoes, more apples, more maple syrup – fructose overload. I ate myself into insomnia. Even worse, I was pretty much having panic attacks in the middle of the night. (Sorry, Boyfriend!)

When I cut out fructose the panic attacks stopped and my sleep improved. Sometimes I got anxious about getting to bed on time, which of course meant I couldn’t get to bed on time. I had to meditate or breathe to be able to stop thinking about how much time I was wasting by meditating. I could be asleep right now, darn it!

Now, I am back to 7 hours a night, and I’m trying to work up to eight. I just feel much better at eight or even nine. My skin is clearer, I’m happier, I pick less during the day, I have more motivation and mental energy. It’s sometimes still a struggle to get to bed on time, and in summer I don’t sleep as well due to the heat. Additional stresses in my life right now are causing me to sleep poorly. But I have to remind myself that my sleep time is non-negotiable, and that I can’t stress about it. And no fructose-heavy foods before bed!

How about you? Do you stress about getting enough sleep?


2 thoughts on “8 Hours a Night

  1. I definitely attribute the sleep problems I used to have to a fructose-overloaded diet. In high school I would have to lay down on the bath mat as the shower ran because my vision would fog over with a blanket of black-and-white static! This still happens now sometimes when I get severely “fructosed.”

    I do have a trick I use to get to sleep whenever I’m stressed, that’s a bit like meditating: I just picture a white flag flapping in the wind, and every time my mind wanders I snap back to it. Before I know it, I’m asleep!

    • I’d get those blood sugar crashes where you stand up, but then you have to sit back down again because my vision would go white and I felt like I was going to pass out.

      I’ve tried thinking of the ocean, but that usually degrades into thinking about how annoying it is to try and get to the beach (although I live near and love going to the beach). A flag sounds much calmer!

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