If You Love Someone, Let Them Sleep

I know I’m about to sound like a giant motherhood cliché, but I’m tired. I’m so tired, my tired is tired. I hit the pillow way too late at night, wake up for my daughter way before I’ve received enough of the recommended sleep hours, and full-time work my tired butt off for hours on end each day.

And it hurts. It’s hurting every aspect of my life.

Now before you admonish me for complaining, please know that this is not what I have set out to do here. Rather, this is a call to action. A call to action for myself, and the other mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and all people of the world, who wish for a nap or a few extra hours of sleep each night. I’ve hit rock bottom in regard to my sleep habits, and it’s costing me.

Recently, Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor of The Huffington Post and now the Queen of all things ‘Sleep’ published a book that left me no other choice but to change my habits. The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night at a Time, not only pointed out the importance of a normal sleep schedule in my life, but brought to light the aspects of my world that were suffering as a result of my careless relationship with rest.

Had my good friends over at the Bulk Bookstore not brought this book to my attention, I’d have been screwed. Seriously. This book carefully lies out the risks of inadequate sleep: marriage problems, weight issues, anxiety, depression, irritability. And with each risk factor I read about through my journey with this incredible book, a light bulb went off in my head, surrendering my brain to what I already knew to be true. I have been sacrificing so much in lieu of my precious sleep time – for fear that sleep would cost me business, productivity, and quiet thinking time. Silly if you think about it – because how productive and successful can one be with a sleep-deprived brain, marital problems in the home, and a really cranky attitude?

Don’t answer that.

Much like Miss Huffington, writing, editing, and striving for success are the pillars of my life. I have built a business on my love of words and what I can do with them, and luckily for me, people like to read what I have to say. I run my own writing and consulting business, as a one-woman show. I have a toddler daughter. I have a husband who runs his own business and counts on me for support and strength. But what I don’t have? Enough hours in the day or great time-management skills.

I wake up early in the morning to write – long before anyone in my house is awake. I dedicate time in the day for my daughter, leave the afternoon open and free only for her, just to put her to sleep at bedtime and rush right back to my home office and furiously pound out the ideas that have been circulating in my head all day. I wake up multiple times in the night to check email, think about my to-do list, or just think, very often keeping myself awake for hours on end. My exhaustion from lack of sleep has cost me my workout routine, has often been the reason for cancelling plans with friends, and has become a source of stress in my home, on a daily basis. Just when it feels like I can’t work any more for the evening – I push myself harder to keep going, even though my body is calling out for the warmth of my bed and some quality time with my husband.

“Come to bed, let’s just lie down,” he would say to me so often, as I’d laugh off his request and watch him snooze off into well-rested wonderland, resentful and jealous as hell.

I bet you think I’m crazy. Like some wretched workaholic woman who is just asking for trouble. Well I was. Wretched, working like a crazy person, and a woman who was putting her own needs last. Until I read this book.

To say this book scared the crap out of me is an understatement. To say Arianna Huffington has inspired me even more than before would be putting it mildly. Because for the better part of a month, I have now committed to “winding down,” in the evening hours. I take a walk after I put my daughter to sleep, letting my mind race with thoughts until it tires out. I leave my phone in another room, shut down my laptop, and get in bed with my husband to watch a show or two by 9pm each night. When I start to stir and get up to look for my phone, my husband calls me right back to bed, with a simple, “What would Arianna do?”

It may sound silly to you — but hey, different strokes for different folks. We all need a wake up call now and then, and damn am I glad that I woke up to the importance of sleep.

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