I am not sure when sleep became a guilty pleasure for folks, but it seems to have become just that. Somewhere along the line I think we have forgotten as a society of overworked, overachieving people that sleep is not a luxury for our brains and bodies. Our brains and bodies are purposeful in their use of sleep – they use them to regenerate and repair systems.
I am mindful of the way we as a society have increasingly accepted the notion that sleep can be minimized. We stay up late, get up early, over-caffeinate, over-schedule and over-estimate our ability to carry on without sleep. Yet we hear more and more from health experts that sleep is the magical ticket to better brain capacity, better overall health, maintaining a healthy weight and better skin. Those are a lot of potential benefits from something that is free and relatively easy (for most) to do. So why is it that we don’t see more folks readily availing themselves of this beneficial practice to the tune of seven plus hours a night?
Well, I guess I can understand how this happens. I can see in my own life how sleep needs are the first to be pushed aside when things must get done. The problem is my endurance for lack of sleep is quite limited. I can go a day, maybe two, with some level of sleep deprivation, but beyond that I quickly devolve into a sleep-deprived moron. The speed with which my IQ drops over a period of limited sleep is akin to a speeding bullet – so fast that it is barely discernable to the human eye.
Increasingly I have been thinking that the value of sleep is something that I have to be purposeful in recognizing – that it is not optional or a luxury – it is fundamental to my best health and looking my best. When I think about the amount of time, energy and money I put toward these directives (feeling and looking good) I have to wonder what the heck I have been thinking when I blow off one of the most productive and inexpensive fixes of all – enough zzzzzzzs.
I am reminded of the phrase “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed” – you know it when you see it in others and when you feel it in yourself. It is the byproduct of a good night’s sleep that has served your brain and body. That is what I will be shooting for from here on out in the new forty- at least figuratively speaking. While I wouldn’t mind serving as a literal representation of bright eyes, the whole bushy tail thing sends me down a path I’d rather not traverse…at least not in my waking hours.
Day nine hundred and forty-five of the new forty – obla di obla da