Big changes throughout life can bring big changes to your sleep.
In this episode, I continue the discussion from Episode 37, and explore a couple more major life transitions and how they can impact your sleep. Specifically, the journey to parenthood, and transitioning to retirement.
New parents are caught in a whirlwind of firsts: mostly frightening, some exciting, and all wonderful. But it's no picnic being woken up across the night for days on end. And it's easy to get derailed - to try to overcompensate for a bad night.
Recall from Episode 20, that when you’ve had a bad night - or a series of bad nights! - that the core principles of healthy sleep are more important than ever, despite the temptation to abandon them being stronger than ever! Because not only will your own damaged sleep improve by maintaining healthy sleep habits, but you are literally training the sleep and circadian cycles of that little disruptor!
Maintain your circadian wellness and in a matter of days, baby is only getting you up once a night (remember not to let super young babies go longer than 4 hours between feeds!).
And within a matter of weeks, as long as stable wake/feed/activity cycles have been reinforced, soon you all will be sleeping through the night without interruption - and never so grateful for consolidated sleep!
And when you retire, it's easy to find yourself facing the same responsibility void that new college kids encounter. Without someone else telling you that you need to be at a specific place at a specific time, its very tempting to yell “screw you, universe, I’m sleeping in as long as I want!”
But a life without order is chaotic, not good for the mind, body, or soul. Circadian disruption, from unstable wake and sleep timing - like going to bed whenever, and waking up whenever - has enormous implications for health and wellbeing.
From higher rates of depression, anxiety, worsening cholesterol, runaway waist lines, and higher rates of cardiovascular disease and mortality - all just from using that capacity for circadian flexibility, as justification for complete absence of stability in the most basic biological function.
What do you value? What matters to you? How can you design your life with intention, with purpose, with resolve that reflects those values? And will you let immature adolescent motivations, equating rebellion with freedom, derail your ability to live the life you want to live? To embody those ideals and values? To live your life with intention?
Or will you wake up like you mean it?