Sleeping our way to the top


It seems that sleep is a rare commodity for many ~ most of us are sleep deprived, myself included. Though I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow, I don’t stay asleep for long. I wake several times a night. The reasons are always different, whether it is the train that goes by at all hours during the night and early morning, or the fights I have with the covers on my bed, or the one too many cups of tea that I have in the evening, it doesn’t matter the cause, the symptom is always the same. Not enough sleep.

Now, for some strange reason, for many of us in this society, we don’t like to admit to sleeping. We boast about our sleepless nights and how little sleep we need to survive on. Or the fact that we were up at 4:00 am working on our latest blog, or having closed the deal with clients on the east coast before most of us here in the west have even had our first cup of coffee. We wear this lack of sleep like a badge of honor. Like we are some kind of superhero.

It's as if we fear that by admitting to or actually sleeping an 8 hour night, we might appear weak or unproductive. You know, the phone rings, it wakes you.  You answer with an obviously sleepy Brenda Vaccaro kind of  “Hello?” The person on the other end, “Oh I’m sorry, did I wake you?” And for some reason, even if we are in a dead sleep, we say “Oh no, I’m awake, I’ve been up for a while.” It’s like there is something embarrassing about being asleep.  We don’t want anyone to think that we either went to bed too early or that we are sleeping in too late.  A dead giveaway of a slacker and heaven forbid we don’t want anyone to think of us as a slacker.

Why do we confuse and sometimes associate sleep with laziness?  I know highly successful people who take daily naps, power naps, as they are sometimes called.  There are cultures that take an entire 3-hour “lunch” break during the work week to catch up on perhaps, a nap or quick snooze.  It seems that if we want to be successful in whatever we do in life, we need to get our share of sleep. Sleep is what keeps us focused, fit and fueled.

There are so many health benefits to getting adequate sleep. It is when we sleep that our bodies heal and repair themselves. Sleep can help to keep our heart healthy, reduce stress, improve our memory and help to control our body weight.  So now that we know that, why don't we all just try to get a little more sleep.