Pro tip — if you oversleep on a day you had planned to tackle your extensive to-do list, rather than despairing over crossing off fewer items, simply add one. Put “GET MORE SLEEP” right there at the top. Hey, you’ve already started before you even woke up!
I’m not really kidding. The older I get, the more I see the value of adequate sleep. I come from a family that sleeps little, so this is a newish mindset for me.
I used to be an “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” type of person. But that’s ridiculous. An objective evaluation of my life when I’ve had a good sleep versus when I’m running low shows me that the quality of my existence improves when I’m rested. I’m less cranky and more productive. I get fewer colds and other minor illnesses as well.
I have intermittent insomnia, and sometimes have to “work at” getting sleep. I have a variety of tricks. So I’m trying to stop kicking myself when I get a late start on weekend chores because I stayed in bed longer than intended. Instead, I tell myself I’ve met an important health goal.
It turns out I can’t indefinitely survive on 6 hours or fewer of sleep per night. My body told me so today. In my desire to be a good mother, a good daughter, a good wife, a good worker, a good writer, a responsible homeowner, and someone who takes time for a modicum of self-care, without dropping the ball, I hit on a plan to get an acceptable percentage of my to-do list accomplished. Give up sleep. Not completely, mind you. I just…cut back. These are all things I want to do. But on occasion I have moments when I feel the horses are getting away from me and I’m not sure if I can hold on. Now I discover lack of sleep does not help you get a grip.
I work a split shift on Mondays – mornings and evenings. This afternoon, after getting off work and picking up my son from school, I came home with the idea I’d hop on the internet and find the forms for getting one of those disabled hang tags, so I can use it when I need to take my mom somewhere. I was sitting on the sofa, feet up, leaning my head on one arm, while I scrolled around on the trackpad with the other hand. Or so I thought, until I woke up 90 minutes later, drooling on the upholstery, with the imprint of my wristwatch embedded in my left cheek. By this time, I had to hurry to get ready for my second work shift. Nevertheless, I spent precious minutes in front of the bathroom mirror, trying to figure out how the erase the wristwatch impression from my face, eventually deciding I’d have to hope it faded on its own before any library patrons saw me close up.
I had a busy evening, and only a few times found a chance to worry about whether my face looked partially hole-punched or fret over the lack of progress on the hang tag. On the up side, I remembered what it felt like not to be tired. I could focus. I could find a greeting smile for my face without much dredging. I felt good. Not merely functional, but actually good. Wow! Sleep. I might have to try it more often.