I hate being sick. I tend to try to go go go and experience and do a lot. When I get sick, it is usually my body reminding me that I need to take a break and slow down. When I am sick, I usually feel exhausted.
Being sick I grumble, and I am mad because it messes up my packed routine and puts me behind in my lists of things to do. But I have recently thought that maybe my to do lists and packed routine are culprits in me being sick. Lack of sleep can be a culprit in making one sick when exposed to bacteria and germs. It can slow down one’s immune system down enough so the body cannot fight off whatever is trying to invade.
This last time I was ill, I could definitely see lack of sleep as a factor. Yes, the littles had coughs and were a bit stuffy. That is normal for this time of year, and I had not gotten sick.
What I think threw me under the bus was staying up later than usual to try to finish grading. I teach online, so I try to grade when my littles are asleep. Sunday and Monday are my usual grading nights, but I was grading a new class, which always takes longer.
My littles had fun things at school I wanted to participate in, like the Book Fair, bubble day, etc. I wanted to finish my grading by my Monday deadline but found myself behind with a new class. Rather than take an extra evening, which would cut into fun time with family, I stayed up two extra hours to finish my grading.
The next day, I felt the tickle in the back of the throat, but it was small. I thought I would get enough sleep that night, so I was not worried. But that night, my youngest had a bad dream and ended up in our bed. Not usually an issue, but his elbows seemed extra pointy, and he was more restless than usual. After hours of being jolted awake, the alarm went off and the tickle had turned to wetness in the chest and stuffy nose.
Making Sleep a Priority
Now I knew I was in trouble. For me, that usually means at least a week of taking cold medicine religiously, overdosing on vitamin C, no exercising and sleeping as much as I can. For the next three days I would go to bed at 9, get up at 7 to take my littles to school, and then sleep until I had to pick my youngest up from preschool. The first two days, I would go back to sleep after picking up the youngest to when I had to pick up the oldest. I would then try to work for a few hours, make dinner, and repeat.
By the third day I felt a little better. Not as exhausted. But I was not able to take my son to his skate lessons. By the fourth day, I was feeling much better and vowed to take some things off my plate and make sleep a priority.
I think I have FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out. I am finding, however, that I miss out more when I do not prioritize sleep. Sleep is important if you want to remain healthy.
Now I am reprioritizing sleep and trying to pare down my schedule. So what if I miss one bubble day or book fair? There will be plenty. I will miss much more if I am sick for weeks.
Eight hours a night will be my new mantra. At least until the next school assembly…