It is entirely common knowledge that healthy sleep is a good thing, and that part of healthy sleep is simply getting enough of it.
It is also entirely common practice to skimp on sleep in these 21st-century over-scheduled times. Neither Mr. Mezzo or myself have been perfect in giving ourselves enough sleep-time, though Mr. Mezzo has a better track record of self-care on this score than I do. This may be because he’s better at disciplining himself to keep healthy routines — whereas I feel half the time as if I’m allowing my unruly inner 6-year-old to run the show. Another contributing factor is he feels the pain of sleep deprivation more acutely than I do.
And I daresay I’ve become quite good at pretending I can get by on a regular dose of 6, 6.5 hours of sleep nightly. But I’m rethinking that right about now.
Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleeve of care,
The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
Chief nourisher in life’s feast,–
~~ Macbeth, 2.2
One of the gifts of being away at the detox center was I was able to allow myself a full night’s sleep every night. The first night was a “minimal” 8 hours and the rest of the time I managed to schedule even more. Which is, of course, one of the benefits of having some time off from work.
But last night, I followed through on the pattern established while I was away and went lights-out when there were still 8 hours between me and the morning alarm. Shocking!
I don’t know for sure whether last night had its own effect, but I do think I felt the effects of being well-rested while I was at the office today. Obviously, a big part of that was the accumulated stretch of fully-rested nights preceding last night’s 8-hour miracle. (Plus the benefits of the other detoxing.)
But if 5 nights’ good sleep on vacation can add up to something special, there’s no reason that a similar — or longer — stretch of good sleep can’t add up for my benefit, even when that sleep is in my own wee bed.
Sounds like a simply enough plan, right? But I’m actually feeling some challenge around it.
I always have so many things I want to do with my evenings. Some of it is entirely frivolous — my TV/DVR obsession runs deep as the ocean, plus there’s my iPad gaming habit and the eternal time suck that the Facebook/YouTube rabbit hole can create in an evening. Those habits could use some inquiry, and I might do well for myself to release some of those calls on my time and attention. Some of them, mind you, but not all. I have too much love for the honest joy of frivolity to run some perfection/purity of life movement where I scorn all fun and foolish things.
And even if I were living some perfection movement where I’d purged all frivolity from my life, I would still be looking at a long list of interests and aspirations. Kinesi sessions, detoxing practices (footbaths, castor packs), joining a choir, reading books, taking classes, writing regularly here (and beyond?)….
I’m not quite clear on how to interweave all these interests and aspirations with a 9-to-6 job and a shiny new resolution to sleep more.
There is room to find some creative options here and there.
On days I get a lunch break, I could start writing my night’s post then. I already know how easy it is to run a kinesi session in the footbath and/or in front of my favorite shows, so I could cash in on that knowledge more frequently. I can watch my Coursera lectures or read the assigned articles on my iPad while I’m doing a castor oil pack. (Choir rehearsal, if I get in, might be something I have to do sole-focus rather than multi-tasked.*)
So, as with so many things: a work in progress. But also a realm of possibilities.
* I don’t know which is the larger sin: false modesty or arrogance. For the first, see above. For the latter: I’m real sure I’m gonna get in.
Image credit: http://www.annholm.net/2013/01/uncover-your-potential-sleep-sleep-well/