A Mediocre Sleeper

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Back in the day when I travelled with high frequency for work, I often came across other travelers asleep on planes and in airports and often in what looked to be uncomfortable positions. I envied them then and I envy them now, and let me be completely honest they are not the only sleeping people I envy. I envy my girlfriend who when she is upset simply sleeps it off. I envy my husband who after my son wakes him up can turn over and go right back to sleep. I envy my father-in-law who will nap so deeply that I can let myself into his house, into his bedroom, say his name right into his ear and yet he sleeps on.  

Yes, envy is not a positive feeling but I just can’t help myself. I wish intensely I could sleep like them but I can't. I am simply not a good sleeper. My classification of a “good sleeper” is a person who consistently can fall asleep quickly, sleep deeply, stay asleep and sleep in. Me on the other hand, I am a light sleeper by my own subjective definition, meaning I can sleep through nothing. Now this of course came in handy during our recent earthquake and also when our sprinkler system broke in the night flooding our lawn. I basically have the genetic makeup of a guard dog, which is not exactly practical as a human with a demanding day job. Additionally I have an internal clock that I seem unable to reset. This means no matter how late I go to bed, I will wake up at the same time each morning. This trait I have sadly passed onto my son and it makes us one cranky pair following a late night, but at least we are always on time and will never need to invest in alarm clocks!

Arianna Huffington has in recent years become an inspiring advocate for the power of sleep, talking passionately about how we need to prioritize it better. I whole heartedly agree! Sleep prioritization is certainly a challenge that I am familiar with. Very early morning client calls combined with late night offshore team meetings, add to that a personal life and my other pursuits and … well… there is just not enough hours in the day. I have absolutely been known to rob myself of what I need the most; sleep. However, I have learned the hard that it does not serve me well, or anybody else for that matter, which brings me back to my envy. 

See even when I routinely prioritize sleep and diligently follow all the tips I know for obtaining optimal rest, I am still doomed to be, at my very best, a mediocre sleeper and that is something I have not yet come to accept. So to good sleepers everywhere I say this; relish and prioritize the gift you have been given and next time before you turn over and go back to sleep, send a kind thought to those of us who just can’t.

“The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.“
W.C. Fields 

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