My dogs are the best sleepers I know. Two of them are laying in my office at this moment, snoozing and snoring away. While sleep is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle of health, it can be …
My dogs are the best sleepers I know. Two of them are laying in my office at this moment, snoozing and snoring away. While sleep is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle of health, it can be challenging to meet the recommended amount of seven to nine hours of restful sleep per night. According to my dogs, the key to consistent sleep is prioritization.
I never expected to have four dogs at the same time. We started off by getting our first dog after my husband and I got engaged, whose name is Baxter. Baxter is a giant, fluffy ball of energy. He always loved playing with other dogs, and we noticed that after he spent time socializing, he would sleep much longer and deeper than when he would spend days on his own.
When we got Brady two years later, Baxter’s sleep patterns changed dramatically in relation to his playing patterns. Baxter and Brady would play for hours on end, but as soon as one of them was tired, the play session was over and it was nap time.
The pattern only increased when we brought Barley and Molly into our family. These two entered our lives as adult dogs and were fully accustomed to the play and sleep cycle. The pattern continued: the more the dogs played, the more they slept. Although it can be quite chaotic having four dogs, most of the time my house is pretty quiet. As they expend more energy, they prioritize refilling their tanks through sleep.
We aren’t much different than my dogs. I notice for myself that if I have a full day, I fall asleep much easier and sleep much more deeply than if I don’t have the opportunity to use my energy. The key though, to consistently getting great sleep, is prioritizing rest as much as I prioritize work and play.
Our bodies are able to recover, rebuild muscle tissue, and store memories away when we sleep. It is when our hormonal cycles reset, our metabolism has a chance to rest and prepare for the next day, and our subconscious mind has the opportunity to help us solve problems. Sleep is a crucial part of living a healthy life, and it’s our responsibility to ensure we prioritize getting enough of it, to the best of our ability in our current season of life.
One of the biggest obstacles to sleep is my phone. If I have my phone next to my bed, it’s very easy to spend a lot of time on it before going to sleep. Not only does the light from our phones make it challenging to fall and stay asleep, we aren’t giving our brains and bodies an opportunity to wind down.
Instead, I’ve built a habit of keeping my phone in another room and reading a book before bed. When I am ready to go to sleep, I take a few deep breaths, recount what I am grateful for, and fall asleep.
I am not perfect at prioritizing getting enough sleep and it always feels like a work in progress. My dogs are a great reminder that work, fun, and sleep go hand in hand and in order to get the best out of one, we have to get the best out of all of them.
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