Day Fifty – Sleep
I resent my need for sleep. I came from underachieving sleepers. Although not an official rule at my house growing up, there was no sleeping-in or napping. It wasn’t an issue because no one wanted to do either, not even when we were sick. We were awake and busy. I didn’t realize that people enjoyed sleep until I went to college.
My husband and kids like to sleep – which is unfortunate for all of us because the only thing that bothers me more than my own indentured status to sleep is the sleeping needs of those around me. I know it’s wrong, but I view sleep as a vice. There is an exception for children under the age of thirteen and pets of any kind. I encourage these two groups to sleep as much as they want so I can get more done. When a person turns thirteen, it’s time to take wakefulness seriously.
Eli and Leo have teenage boy sleeping habits. On school breaks and weekends, Leo is the master of the noon to three-in-the-morning schedule. Eli is his apprentice. By ten in the morning I want to hit them both in the head with a frying pan as a reminder to GET UP! My husband Matthew likes to nap. He can sleep anywhere and at anytime. This is a man who napped while I was in labor. For over 22 years he has been immune to my snarky nap remarks. His stubbornness has earned him a nap pass. The twins are twelve and safe in sleep Switzerland until they turn thirteen.
For me, sleep is like anti-matter. My wakefulness is surrounded by it like a black hole around light. I’m truly bothered by how much more life I could live if I didn’t have to give up to the void those seven pesky hours a day. By my calculations that is 2,555 hours or 106.45 days a year wasted on sleep!
My sleep habits have not changed much over my life span. I sleep on average about 4-5 hours a day. I’ve tried to cut down my need. I’m more or less functional on three hours for about a week but it catches up with me. Sleep wins. Leo tells me I need to try polyphasic sleep but that sounds too weird and it involves so many micro naps that I think I would end up annoying myself.
I’ve read that we need less sleep as we age. Perhaps getting older may have one bonus coming to me after all, even if most sleep experts say the gain is just a little over thirty minutes. It doesn’t make up for the reading glasses, the wrinkles and the grey roots, but I’ll take it.