To be quite honest, it’s late, and I was out of inspiration. It’s been a long day of schedule-wrangling, planning, navigating the craziness, and plotting and scheming… interspersed with leezard bathing, feeding, calcium-supplementing and getting scratched. Add on that a sufficiently butt kicking workout, more leezard bathing and calcium-ing, foraging some food for dinner, ignoring all the sweets in the house (made it 3 days so far!!!)… I just haven’t had time to consider a post.
I asked my dearest Zliten for an idea, and even though HE has had a long day too (12 hours of work), he came up with a great topic – one that is near and dear to his heart – SLEEEEEPYTIME. I was going to dedicate half the post to how wonderful he is, however, I’m pretty sure I have quite enough to say on sleep and he’s not getting out of that idea THAT easy. So there.
Ah, sleep. We have had a very on again off again relationship. As a child, I staved you off for as long as I could. I begged for later bedtimes, and afternoon kindergarten. Unlike most 5 year olds, I had a 10pm bedtime, simply because my parents gave up the fight. I was stubborn and I just wouldn’t sleep. By the time I was 16, I was regularly sleeping only about 4 hours a night. Sometimes less if I had a lot of homework. I was your typical overachiever in school, sports, 2 jobs, and I liked hanging out with my friends every night. The thing I chose to give up: sleep. I would generally save up my trigonometry homework until the night before the test (when we had to turn it in), drink a BUNCH of caffeine, do the entire chapter, and use that as double duty to study for the tests. Hey, it worked.
I continued this trend through college. I would put off my homework partying and going out and working and doing theatre stuff, and then midterms would come. And I would just up my caffeine intake, stay up for the majority of a week (I think my record was 70-some hours vertical), get through the tests and presentations and projects, crash for a while, then start it over. It was a game to me. A formula to plug in the right number. 24 -x-y = z. x= the minimum amount of hours needed to maintain a good (mostly A’s) GPA. y = the minimum amount of sleep I could get by with. z, the result, was the amount of hours I could have fun. And that was the most important thing to me.
Sleep continued to be for the weak, as I would say, in my early professional life. Except for the glorious, glorious 2 years where I got to work after lunch until just after summer sunset (not that I want to go back to the JOB, but I loved the schedule), I was riddled with a normal 9-5 (or close) schedule. Except for a lot of years, it was more like 9-9. I’m a girl that’s just not typically willing to give up my fun time, so in general, I’d go to bed between 2-3am, get up at 8:30, and do it again. I would like to, for the record, maintain that I never had anything stronger than caffeine in my system. No amphetamines here. I just really didn’t see the need of a full night of rest. That was for other people.
Nothing put me to bed properly until running. Within 6 months of my first miracle mile around the track and dying, I went from staying up until around 1am to crawling into bed at 11pm. I weaned myself off caffeine. It is now currently 10:20pm and I’m actually thinking that I need to wrap up this blog because I miss my bed. I regularly sleep at least 8 hours a day. I rarely sleep past 10 even on weekends, and I regularly sleep less on weekend since I’ll stay up late, and my body will just get up because I’ve banked enough on the weekdays. Weird, huh?
As much as I still feel the drive of having 24 useable hours in each day (extra props if you can identify the movie – hint, it comes from a cute gal in a plaid skirt), something in my life that is a priority finally has also made sleep a priority. To have the energy to make good food choices, not have to use stimulants to get through the day, to have the energy to ask my body to continue to grow in strength and speed in athletic feats… I just gotta have my rest. It also definitely helps getting into work and hit the ground running instead of needing the morning to get my eyes open. And this sort of propagates the whole early to bed and early to rise – once you start doing one the other generally follows.
Zliten, however, has always been a fan of sleep. He had very vivid dreams, sometimes even lucid ones, and just enjoyed being asleep and getting enough rest. We would differ greatly in our sleep theories, but since he usually had the same type of schedule as I did, and also liked to have his fun, he usually was sleep deprived as well. Needless to say, he is very happy that we get our proper sleepytimes now. Sometimes he complains about going to bed so early, but most days he’ll turn the lights off on me out in the living room and tell me to come to bed (I mean, it was already 10:45…).
So, I really have been enjoying getting my required 8 hours. I hope not to have to change that any time soon! It’s amazing, after most of my life of deprivation, to be fully and completely rested. Heck, I go to bed now about when I did in grade school. I’ve learned to just manage the to do list down to the hours I have – sure, I might not get as much done, but I’m no longer a twitching-from-a-pot-of-coffee zombie doing it.
How about you? How much sleep do you normally get per night? Do you think you need 8 hours a night to be healthy? What’s the longest you’ve stayed up without sleep?
**This post’s pictures brought to you by fukung.net, and things that you might see while sleep deprived. **grin**