Where’s that Snooze Button?


I was thinking about sleep this morning as I drove into work, sipping my coffee.  Why is that so many people don’t get enough sleep?  I am frequently well-rested, but I do go through spurts where I am just exhausted.  Night after night, I don’t get enough hours of sleep.  I pay for it for weeks afterwards.   For me, being tired is the result of not enough hours in the day.  I’m sure many people can relate to this problem.  It isn’t even a problem of not enough hours to do all the things that you need to do, but also the things that you want to do.   

Let me give you a rundown of my day yesterday.  Woke up at 6am.  Left for work at 7:45am.  Worked until 4:30pm.  Picked up Gavin and was home by 5:30pm.  Family time (which really means, doing laundry, preparing and eating dinner, cleaning up after dinner, cleaning lunch containers, coffee mugs, and Gavin’s bottles all while trying to enjoy quality with the G-man) until 7:30pm.  Gavin’s in bed by 8pm, and I’m out the door to the grocery store by 8:15pm.   Home by 9:15pm.  We unloaded the groceries and finished cleaning up around the house until 9:30pm.  Now, here is where I made myself even more tired.  Instead of taking a shower and going to bed to try and recover from the previous night’s exhaustion, I decided to watch some tv.  I hadn’t had any time to relax all day.  I wanted to spend an hour hanging out with Steve with some mindless entertainment.  An hour later, I take a shower and am in bed only to pick up the latest book that I’m reading (which happens to be The Bourne Identity – very good!) and decided that I needed to make some more progress on it.   I didn’t turn out the light until almost 11:30 only to wake up at 6am and start all over.

Why do I do this to myself?  I’ll tell you why.  I want some time to relax.  Some time to do anything that I want to do.  Time to enjoy hobbies.  Once you do all that things that you have to do, there isn’t a lot of time left for hobbies.  I’m sure that many of you can relate to that.

A long time ago, I read that you need a week of good night’s sleep for every hour of missed sleep.  I don’t know how true that is, but I do agree that making up for loss of sleep never happens in just one night.   I also know what sleep deprivation does to me physically and physiologically.  Physically, I eat more.  When I’m tired, I eat anything and everything.  It’s like my brain is saying, keep eating for energy, but my body is too tired to prepare a healthy, energizing meal or snack.   Since, I’m eating all these bad foods, my body is too tired and depleted to exercise.  Physiologically, I’m cranky.  I’m not happy.  I’m not in a good mood.  All I think about is how will I catch up on my sleep.  I’m not a doctor, but I’m sure prolonged sleep deprivation has a multitude of long-term health consequences.  I wouldn’t even be surprised if prolonged exhaustion resulted in a shorter lifespan. 

Isn’t it ironic that as you age, you need less sleep.  So, once I get to that retirement age, where work doesn’t hinder me from doing all the things I want to do, I’ll have even more hours in the day to do them.  In the meantime, I’m going to try my best to prioritize sleep and watch tv another night.  Isn’t that what a Tivo is for anyway?

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