Vacations, Sleep, Stress and Heart Health

My normal Monday post is “Posture Monday,” in which I lay out an exercise to help you correct your posture. Last week I had no Posture Monday post because I have been sleep deprived, stressed and depressed.

Yesterday, instead of a yoga posture, the exercise I gave you was to walk your ass into the nearest mattress store and get yourself the best mattress you can afford. Obviously, in the context of Posture Monday, that was because a good mattress is good for your back and posture.

Well, in the context of Stress Relief Tuesday, the same advice would be in the context of getting a good night’s sleep, to help you control your stress.

Sleep away the stress

How good is a proper night’s sleep for fixing your stress? Well, I’m on vacation, which means I’m running myself ragged, particularly on this vacation, because it’s the last one I’ll ever have at the family cottage.

It being our last hoorah at this joint, I’m burning the candle at both ends, and in a couple spots in the middle, to ensure the best possible weekend for my boys, and for me. I want our last memories here to be happy ones.

Vacationing and having fun is one thing. Vacationing and ensuring that the last go around is one of joy, and happy memories, is exhausting, and stressful. And, in case I haven’t mentioned it more than, oh, a hundred times, the beds up here suck. No good, stress, relieving nights of sleep for ol’ Andrew.

Or are there?

Actually, yes, there are. The bed isn’t the most comfortable, and my back is aching, but I’m still getting good enough sleep that my stress is, for all intents and purposes, gone.

How gone?

The last couple of nights, after I banged out a little something for you to read, I pulled up season 7 of Last Man Standing. I saw Tim Allen on the comedy circuit way back when, and thought him mildly amusing. I watched a few episodes of Home Improvement, but never really took to it.

Last Man Standing, however, generally hits me dead centre on my funny bone, and sitting in this uncomfortable wicker chair, binging season 7, trying not to laugh out loud and wake the whole joint, I find myself checking my heartrate.

My stress is so low right now that my spot heartrate is lower than my daily average heartrate. That normally happens only when you’re asleep. I’ve gotten so relaxed these last few days that my damned heartrate dropped 4 beats per minute in two days.

So, yes indeed, get yourself a first rate mattress. It will help your back and posture, it will help you get better sleep, and that better sleep will help you everywhere else. You’ll be more patient, you’ll keep better perspective, and you’ll be able to enjoy time with your loved ones all the more.

But for short periods of time, a less comfortable mattress will do. As long as you can get decent sleep, as long as the bed isn’t contributing to your stress, you’ll be able to cope.

At least I’ve been able to.