Sleeping Beauty

So here we go again. It’s that time of the year once again and reflection time sets in. How much of what I planned at the start of the year did I accomplish? Where could I have done better? Did I gain anything other than weight? Did I lose anything other than a bit of my sanity? Did I learn any new life skills (e.g. maintaining an interested look right through my child’s very detailed 90-minute, make-it-up-as-you-go story about her new favourite superhero)?

I haven’t had any life-changing epiphanies or groundbreaking “aha” moments, but one of my biggest discoveries this year has been…wait for it…SLEEP IS LIFE!!! Do you hear me? I mean, real, proper, deep, dead-to-the-world, mouth wide open, heavy drooling, unpretty, lights out, phone off, wake-up-with-eyes-glued-shut sleep. Does that age me considerably? Perhaps, but I’m too well rested to care.

You see, for many of us, from the moment our eyes open, it’s just go, go, go! There’s rarely ever any time for a break, and the next time we can quiet our minds and just breathe is the next time we’re in bed. For me, after spending all day serving everybody else, the last thing I wanted to do at the end of the day when everybody slept was sleep! I finally got some solitude, some “me” time, and I was going to waste that on sleep? Never that! So no matter how tired I was, no matter how late it was, no matter how early I had to be up the following day, I couldn’t “waste” my time on sleep. That was my time to watch TV or read a book, uninterrupted. That was my social media time. That was my “eat all the things I shouldn’t, but who’s going to check me?” time. I would deal with the fatigue later. Sleep was for the weak, I decided.

But then, the unthinkable happened. I accidentally fell asleep (in bed, not on the couch as is my custom) around 8 p.m. one glorious night a few months ago. I woke up a few hours later, and checked the time, sure I had about 30 minutes left before the cruel screeching of my 5:45 a.m. alarm clock would ruin my entire life. Would you believe it was not yet midnight?! I can’t prove it, but I’m fairly certain I heard angels singing in the background!

I woke up before my alarm clock the following morning and for some reason, I was so much more productive even though it was really just an extra 15 minutes or so. I wondered if it was some kind of a glitch in the system, some happy accident, but I was excited enough that I decided to try it again that night and went to bed before 9 p.m. I almost laughed out loud when I woke up and checked the time and discovered I still had another five hours to sleep!

This was it! I was sold. I didn’t need to research the science behind it. Sleep was the new black and it looked good on me.

It might sound small, but the reason this has been so life-changing for me is because getting proper rest has impacted so many other areas of my life. It’s not lazy as we’ve been conditioned to believe. On the contrary, getting more and better sleep helps me to wake up in a better mood, I have more energy, I make better decisions, I organize my tasks more efficiently throughout the day, and I’m getting more done. I’m still working the same number of hours in a day, but I’m just accomplishing so much more, and I don’t feel like death personified by midday.

I hope someone who’s struggling to balance everything will see this and try it out too. See what you can cut out or cut down on in order to get a decent night’s rest. How much time are you spending on TV or social media? Make an unbreakable, non-negotiable appointment with yourself to get some real sleep, and thank me later.

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