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How Getting Good Sleep & Cutting Back On Coffee Helped My Mood

No one wants to admit that sleep is probably the most crucial part of living. It’s true though. Scientists have proven that you can go three times longer without food than you can without sleep. But in this “grind or die” culture, sleep is the first thing to go. Lack of sleep is easily justified by chugging down copious amounts of coffee, speeding up our adrenal systems to the point where we become moody and unproductive and passively walk through life in a sleep-deprived daze.

But I have started the slow and steady up-climb of getting up at 5 am and limiting myself to two cups of coffee–none past 3 pm. Why? I was always an all night person? People have gone so far as joking about my nocturnal emissions. I love the night. I love the stars. I love the quiet pace. AND I LOVE COFFEE.  I’ve always felt ten times more productive at night. Plus, I’m South American.  I grew up with an Abuela who would easily drink yerbe mate and clean and chat until 1 or 2 am. That’s how I learned about pacing. Because my Abuela always took siestas too. There’s something really important to be said for siestas. Let me explain.

3 o’clock in the afternoon is the time that post people complain that they’ve hit the proverbial “wall.” That’s your body naturally trying to siesta.  This is my theory anyway.  So rather than guzzling coffee, I’ve been napping after work and drinking Kombucha instead. Please don’t get me wrong–there is absolutely nothing wrong with coffee. I love it. It is the sweet nectar of the gods, but getting in a cat nap makes my days 10 times more productive than that extra cup of coffee.

A decent 1-2 hour nap is perfection. If I can sneak it it, I can get more stuff done after dinner and can still be in bed by 1 am. So I get good REM sleep, but I’m also able to enjoy some of that twilight, which is my most favorite time of day.  It’s my little “best of both worlds” trick.

Girl Boss
Girl Boss

Incorporating yoga, gentled stretching and meditation has also been vital. Before jumping into all those emails before I’ve even woken up, I grab my pacifica or headspace app and set my intentions for the day. Trust me. Shredding any early morning worry or stress before dealing with ANYONE is my gift to the planet.  It also makes my life and daily tasks much easier.

So I plan on continuing this regimen.  I still have to figure out how to not break the cycle on weekends, if I happen to go out. Working on that one.

So if you see my at Starbucks power slugging a double cappuccino at 11 o’clock at night, please intervene on my behalf.  I will thank you later.

About Kristen Damasida

Writer and Photographer for Virago Magazine, Kristen grew up listening to vinyl and highlighting the dictionary. Her work has appeared in IrockJazz.com, The East Harlem Journal, Boston's Culturehive, the Ithacan and other publications. Her love of music cannot be eclipsed by her love of words. She's been coined the "Akira Kurosawa of Blogs" by such people as herself. An aspiring musician, she has a serious penchant for peach-flavored anything, multi-tasking, slow-paced thrillers and dreams of going back to South America, laying on the beach, and drinking from a coconut.

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