Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Happiness and sleep...but what about a life?

I've been reading a book called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  It's arranged by month, but I'm a rebel so I'm starting with January instead of skipping ahead to October.  Yup, running with scissors, that's me.

Anyhow, the very first element of happiness she addresses is sleep. Er, um...sleep as an issue?  Who me?  Well....yeah. In fact sleep has been an issue for me as long as I can remember. By middle school, I was a veteran of the late movie channels.  And that book I got in the morning might very well be finished by the next morning.

I've heard all the reasons why sleep matters...and the dire predictions for those who don't sleep enough. People opt out of the 8 hours a night of shut eye are more prone to accidents, have weaker immune systems, are less effective at work. Thanks folks...nothing like worrying about the health risks of a lifetime of sleeplessness to help you drift off into dreamland, right?
So when I saw the same warnings in Rubin's book, I almost skipped the chapter. And when she talked about how wonderful she felt after a week of going to sleep at 9:30 and waking up sans alarm at 5:30, I closed the book.

Let's get real.  Sure sleep might be great.  It might even be critical, but drifting off at 9:30 p.m. night after night would mean:

  • Ending my day and getting ready for bed at around 9 pm
  • Spending almost no time alone with my husband. (And because this is a family-friendly blog, I will leave it at that.)
  • Missing all the wonderful connections that come from late night conversations with my daughter
  • Giving up on concerts, date nights, football games, blogger gatherings, professional conferences, and even phone calls with friends when their kids are finally asleep
  • Never seeing another movie in its entirety...by the time the dishes are cleaned up after dinner, it's at least 8 pm (often later)
  • No scrapbooking or art or (gasp!) reading for more than a half hour or so
  • Skipping out early on religious services on Friday nights, where we are often still at the Temple at 9:30
Don't get me wrong.  I get the idea. And odds are I would feel more rested and be a better worker. But the days of really falling asleep over dinner aren't that far away for any of us.  So until it's time for me to be packed off to Century Village, I will choose my late nights over a bit more shut eye. 

And I'm going to use some of that time to read the rest of Rubin's book....I flipped through the book and a lot of the other ideas sounded very good. And you know what?  I might even stay up extra late tonight to finish it! 

Gretchen Rubin will be speaking about her new book  Happier at Home at the Texas Conference for Women on October 24th in Austin. Tickets are still available at the conference website.  Listen in on her free teleconference on October 15th for a taste of what's to come!

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