I've been studying a lot about stress recently, and there are LOTS of things to consider, but there is one factor that tends to stand out to me - rest. How much sleep do we need? The surprising answer to me is - enough! Enough for what? Enough to wake up well rested and refreshed and ready to jump out of bed to greet the day! How can we tell if we've had enough sleep? Our bodies do not oversleep; we don't sleep more than we NEED. When we have enough sleep, we will naturally wake up refreshed. If we have to use an alarm clock to wake up in the morning, or we have to drag ourselves out of bed, or we just feel like rolling over and going back to sleep, we have not had enough sleep.
This past summer, I had extreme adrenal exhaustion (with chronic fatigue), so I decided to try getting some extra sleep. I basically backed out of life for a while to recover. I slept in every morning (mostly) until I woke naturally. At first, I often slept 12 hours a day. I was REALLY tired! Over time, my sleep time naturally grew less and less to the point that I am sleeping less now than I ever have in my adult life. I also don't feel tired and dragging nearly as much as I always used to during the day. Sleep is so healing to our bodies.
I have used this principle with my children as well. I know some mothers who keep tight schedules for their families, including not only what time their children go to bed (and nap), but also what time they must get up. I've heard several moms ask why it's so hard to wake their children on time. Maybe they just aren't getting enough sleep. When children are growing, they need more sleep. Teenagers need even more! I let my children sleep, but I watch for any tendency to lay in bed in the morning also. I don't want to foster laziness! I do want them to greet each day with a smile!
Our bodies thrive best when they are well rested. I am able to do so much more now than I did when I was sleep-deprived every night. And I am not nearly so stressed either! Are you feeling stressed? Too much to do? Dragging? Don't feel quite right? Relieve your stress and get some rest!