Cinderella turns Healthy at Midnight
I have referenced sleep throughout this health journey. I have talked about the health in wake up calls (see Day 68); I have discussed the benefits of a healthy dose of sleep (see Day 43); and have even dove into the health benefits of being tired (from lack of sleep…see Day 116). But today, as I skipped out on the “ideal” sleeping hours (10pm to 6am), I discovered the Unexpected Health in…staying up late.
Now, I am not saying that being a night owl is the most healthFUL practice. In fact, there are quite a few unhealthy side effects to staying up into the wee hours of the night: I have talked about the health benefits of maintaining a fluid circadian rhythm; I have harped on the healthiness of getting 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep during specific hours (again, 10pm to 6am); and especially for young ones, a healthy night sleep during optimal hours is essential for brain development.
But staying up late every now and then can also have its place on the health charts. Because, the Unexpected Health benefit to staying up late is that when time is limited, nurturing connection takes precedence over sleep…and valuing a shared experience at any hour of the day or night is healthy.
I stayed up WAY past my bedtime last night (it was actually this morning when I finally went to sleep). But I stayed up late because my longest-term friend (yes, I’ve known her for 28 years!) was in town for the night. Now of course, we could have said our “‘hello’s” and ‘hit the hay,’ knowing that we could catch up in the morning. But there was too much to talk about, too many stories, too many experiences, and too many exciting possibilities that needed to be shared…so we chatted away into the early morning.
Did I wake up tired? Yes. Did I arise and feel like I was operating at a little less than optimal functioning? Of course. But after a few hour gab session, I felt rejuvenated in my soul. Although my physical body may not have had adequate rest, my heart and my soul were fully charged and ready to face the day. Sometimes we need to make sacrifices in one area of our lives in order to fulfill more significant ones. I chose to loose a little sleep so I could gain a lot of connection. So the next time you have the opportunity (and I do mean opportunity!) to stay up late and catch up with someone you love, do it. You can always sleep. You won’t always have endless opportunities to connect. -Until tomorrow, Jaime
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