I usually sleep 8 hours every night. I hit the pillow, and I’m out like a light. I wake up the next morning rejuvenated and ready to go. But not this past Saturday.
Lior and I had a whirlwind of a day on Saturday. We had a neighborhood yard sale in the morning outside in 90-degree heat, took much-needed naps in the afternoon, and then went out for dinner that evening. Indian food – yum!
My meal was definitely super-high in fat. And I knew I was risking high sugars when I placed my order. But I decided to go ahead and do it anyway. I did what I could to prepare my blood sugars for my unhealthy decision – dual wave bolus and all – but what I ordered was the complete antithesis of healthy and well-balanced.
I checked my sugar two hours after the meal to see how my body was responding to the food and dual wave. It was high – 230. I bolused to correct the high sugar – which means to inject insulin in pump talk – and I waited an hour to check my sugar again. It was still high – 220. I debated with myself for a minute. You have to be careful when bolusing insulin too many times. Sometimes it just takes the insulin a while to do its job and if you bolus too much, you can wind up with low sugar later. But I just knew to keep bolusing. I wouldn’t be going low this time. So I did.
We watched a movie – ironically enough Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs where characters overindulge in food – and I decided to go to sleep a few hours later, around 11:00 pm. I checked my sugars again before falling asleep. Still high, again in the 200s. I decided not to bolus. And over the next couple of hours, I lay in bed obsessing about who knows what, tossing and turning for two hours. I couldn’t sleep. I checked my sugar again at around 1:00 am – 213. No change, still high. I bolused again. Finally I was so exhausted that I fell asleep at 1:30, high sugars and all.
I woke up the next morning exhausted and in pain. I checked my sugar. It was still high – around 205. I bolused to correct the high sugar once again and started my day.
There is a link between high blood sugar and lack of sleep. Actually, some studies show that inadequate sleep can be a contributor to Type 2 diabetes. But was my lack of restful sleep due to the high sugars, unhealthy foods, or anxious thoughts? Could it have simply been the heat and mid-day nap? I didn’t exercise that day, could that be it?
Answer: All of the above. I think my Saturday night madness is an example of how truly connected our body-mind-spirit really are in living peaceful lives. Unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, high blood sugars, stress, and stepping out of my typical sleep routine. And in the end, it all showed up on my glucometer – loud and clear – 230, 220, 213, 205.
Okay, so that’s mind and body. But why did I bring up spirit?
Spiritually speaking, the time before we go to bed and when we first wake up is considered very sacred. Sleep is a time for us to rejuvenate and get the needed rest we need to take us into the next day. And it is also the time when we transition from the waking outer world to connect with our inner world. It’s a time when dreams happen, clueing us into what resonated with us during our day, and when we’re tuned in, our dreams may speak to us about our life’s passions or things that are holding us back. And for some, bedtime is a time for prayer, setting intentions for the next day. Some even believe that our soul goes up to heaven or to God during sleep to receive messages and rejuvenation that will set us on our spiritual paths.
In “A New Earth”, a book on living one’s purpose, Eckhart Tolle advises readers to meditate, scanning the body and paying attention to breath, before going to sleep and first thing when waking up in the morning. In “The Secret”, a corny but worthwhile read about the Law of Attraction, Rhonda Byrne suggests thinking positive thoughts before bedtime, placing an order with the Universe to deliver good things. And in “Have a Little Faith”, the Reb Albert Lewis tells author Mitch Albom that he thanks the Lord for returning his soul to him each morning when he wakes up.
Usually, I use sleep in this way. I pay special attention to thinking good thoughts/meditating/praying before I go to bed and when I wake up in the morning. And as I wrote in the beginning of this entry, I fall asleep in an instant and I wake up completely refreshed. I go downstairs to exercise. I eat a healthy breakfast and get ready for the day. And the results of these mind-body-spirit practices are evident in my life. I recently reached my dream of a 6.5 A1C and I’ve reached other dreams as well such as becoming a writer, falling in love, and owning a home.
I use sleep as another tool for living the life I want to live.
Sleep is an important part of taking care of ourselves. No question about it. And it is completely related to everything else we do during the day. And if you are attuned to mind-body-spirit practices, you can utilize sleep as well. Eat healthy, exercise, stay hydrated, reduce caffeine, and set your intentions for the life you want to live before you go to bed and when you wake up every morning – and watch how the world conspires to give you the life you want.