I’ve always thought that sleep deprivation was one of the most effective methods of torture (now before you report me to Amnesty International… hear me out). I’ve been trying to outsleep my spouse several times now. In fact, I have a torture plan that you might be familiar with (and most of you have probably been subjected to!) OK, here it is.
You take the person, make sure they are very weak from an operation or major bodily stress, then you wake them up every two hours and force them to feed a delicate and extremely needy living thing whose life depends on that person’s feeding methods, and while they’re feeding it, make sure you pinch them continuously in a very delicate area!
Yup, I’m talking about breastfeeding my newborn. Now if that isn’t torture I don’t know what is! The upside is that you’re in love with your beautiful, delicate and totally innocent “torturer” so it makes it all worth it.
I remember the first time I thought about the link because of sleep and torture. It was a few days after giving birth to my first son. You see, I’m one of those people that LOVES sleep. And I’m not talking about the regular person love of sleep, I’m talking about the way people love chocolate or diamonds. I’m talking L-O-V-E.
There are times that I have visions of daffodils dancing in my head. Just imagine! My husband recently told one of our friends that he’s tried several times to “outsleep” me but couldn’t do it (“I slept until I just couldn’t stay in bed any longer and she slept for another TWO hours” he said in mock amazement).
Now I’m not particularly proud of this love of mine. In fact, over the years, I’ve been a little embarrassed by it. Especially when surrounded by driven successful corporate executives that try to one-up each other on how little sleep they can get and still be the superstars that they are…(now imagine a big manly booming voice)…”I get up at 5:00 am each morning to go running, then I read the WSJ and the NYTimes and check my e-mails before I even get into work”…”
You get up at 5:00? Wow, you’re lucky, that’s sleeping in for me! I get up at 4:00 am, go the gym, save the world and end world hunger, all before my 9:00 am staff meeting!” And all I can think is, wow, I’m getting sleepy just listening to these guys talking about sleep.
And it’s not just these corporate superstars, a lot of busy people fill their days (and nights) with tons of work and family activities and sacrifice sleep to get it all done. And it is a sacrifice. I know what you’re thinking…don’t lecture me about sleep…I have kids that need extra care and attention, I have work, I have a million responsibilities and I just don’t have the luxury of eight hours of sleep!
Yes, of course, you’re busy and you have important things to do for your family, I get that, but I think people generally underestimate the importance of sleep. I’m not the first person by any stretch to say this but I see sleep as one of the best ways to keep healthy and the best thing about it is that it feels great and its FREE (just like another great thing we love to do that’s free…but that one can result in the sleep torture we’ve already talked about!). That’s actually one of the things I’ve learned about myself.
So even though I don’t shout it from the rooftops, I’m OK with not being as fit, as successful, or as organized as those overachievers that get up at 5:00 am to rule the world, because I’m doing something that is good for me (or that’s what I tell myself every morning I sleep in an extra hour instead of doing the million other should-be-doing things!).