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Bad habits that lead to late nights have been kicked to the curb but after years of struggling with them. Far from the ideal way to start the day. I prefer to leap out of bed, ready to tackle challenges. Not exhausted and wondering when I squeeze in a 15-minute nap at 6 am.
Of all the bad habits, this one is the hardest.
As a federal employee, overtime is a scarce commodity. Uncle Sam loathes paying more for extra hours, and it shows by how infrequent it occurs.
But, where I work there are after-hour rentals. The public can rent out the entire building after we are close. Along with the rental fees, patrons are charged an overtime price for staff staying after hours. Weddings, meetings, and tours, all get a steep discount on a facility rental, and I get a little extra cushion for early retirement.
Everyone is happy, but sleep.
Typically, these events go well into the witching hour, and it’s not uncommon to stay until midnight. Sometimes later. It’s a creepy feeling to be alone in a place that is usually bright and bustling with people.
These events are infrequent which is ideal because working 55 hours or more a week not only messes with sleep but increases heart disease.
The study concludes that working 55 or more hours per week is associated with an estimated 35% higher risk of a stroke and a 17% higher risk of dying from ischemic heart disease, compared to working 35-40 hours a week.World Health Organization
The mo’ money saga continues. I will continue to greedily accept the overtime, at least until someone younger and hungrier comes to our team.
Caffeine, Double Shot
Coffee. It’s synonymous with love. I love coffee with its robust brewing odor, delicious rich taste, and caffeinated high that gives hope for the day.
My love for coffee has changed with time. I used to drink more when I needed it to shake exhaustion from less than adequate sleeping routine.
Now, I don’t rely on caffeine to turn from grumpy to groggy. I drink a lone cup in the morning and, on rare occasions, caffeinated tea in the afternoon.
The older I get, the more sensitive I become. If I drink coffee at noon or later, I will be up until 3 am. As much as it pains to admit, one day I may switch to tea because coffee will be too potent.
There was a time when weekends revolved around alcohol.
I hung out with other youthful souls as we tried to drain the world of booze. The wild days of folly have come to an end. I rarely drink now, and when I do, I’m aware of it’s hefty toll.
I feel my pulse quicken and heightened awareness. This heightened feeling seems to increase as I try to snooze away the booze. In the end, the results are the same; less sleep.
Interrupted sleep contributes to memory loss and the ability of your brain to convert short-term memories into long-term ones. Over time, memory loss increases and can even lead to early-onset dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.American Sleep Association
This has been one habit that’s easy to boot. Along with better sleep, alcohol is expensive. Now, the most frequent hits of alcohol come from potent hand sanitizer.
Of all the habits, having anxious thoughts is the most annoying, frustrating, and inescapable, just like an alarm that someone else set on my phone.
Of all the bad habits, I have to keep adding different layers to keep this at bay. Exercising to ensure I’m tired and don’t have thoughts to think, once I sleep. Meditation with its deep breathing is a way to prep my brain for the sounds of silence.
A trick I learned from the Navy is not to use a bed for anything but sleep.
While in boot camp, we were banned from using our bed for anything other than a vehicle for sleep. If the RDCs (scary boot camp instructors) caught anyone using their bed as a couch, the relaxing would quickly transform into unending pushups.
A painful, yet effective, lesson.
It’s tough to silence anxious thoughts and not let them spill into sleep time but if my mind is already primed by smooth sheets and taunt pillows, it will be that much easier to enjoy a quick drift into dreamland.
Bad Habits Better Behaviors
It’s ironic that when we’re babies, we want to sleep and eat. Then we grow up and have more energy to go places and do things. Until we lose that and end up with back where we started with eating and sleeping.
I tried to fight it when I was younger, like an overtired toddler, and the results were expected – a cranky human.
As I’ve grown in wisdom and wrinkles, turns out there is nothing better than a good night’s sleep and there are some ways I can ensure that is what happens 90% of the time.