It is something we all do, but it is also very personal. Although I have been quite aware of this for some time, this last trip it really hit home that we all do it differently. Some, the healthy ones, do it whenever their bodies tell them it is necessary. Others, like myself, only do it when we absolutely have to. Some do it to escape thinking about a current problem, or negative situation that is going on in their lives.
I’m no sleepologist, but I think a good deal of it comes down to age, our personal situations, and our outlook on life. Babies sleep almost all of the time. Teenagers have no problem sleeping when they feel like there is nothing else they have to do – school is out, or I’m on vacation, or …. The elderly also seem to not need a good reason to take a nap.
I’m a big fan of afternoon naps! Sometimes just 20 or 30 minutes is all you need to shake off the cobwebs and wake refreshed and ready to go.
For me, living on less started in high school. I was holding down as many as three jobs at the time, and I would have my social life as well. It wasn’t unusual to come home late at night, get up early for work or school the next morning, work after school, hang out late, repeat. This continued in college where I needed to stay up late working on my studies, and feel the need to watch some TV (Honeymooners, Star Trek, or the Twilight Zone) to satisfy a need for some downtime.
These habits continued after I graduated and was starting my business, and then a family. There are only 24 hours in a day. Not enough to be able to sleep eight of them away. Too much to do.
Today, now that I am starting to have fewer responsibilities, I feel like time is of the essence…. I don’t know how much of it I have left. Often times, I find myself staying up late because I don’t want to miss out on something. I’m reading, or thinking about what we did that day, or planning for what we are going to do tomorrow or the next week.
I have kind of felt this way since about the age of 23. As a result, I have trained my body to live on less. I doubt that my doctors would say that I have figured out a way to beat the system, but at the same time, I don’t know if I can change my programming at this stage of the game.
I do some of my best work – my most productive work, when I am by myself, and everyone else is sleeping! I can focus exactly on the task at hand. I can let my brain (which runs faster than my body can) take over, and allow it to truly execute its wishes.
Just the other night, I went to bed at a reasonable hour – 1100. Woke at midnight, and went downstairs to the computer to work on some stuff. I think it was after 3 am before I felt like I could sleep again. The alarm was set for 6, but that didn’t matter. No sense lying in bed if you can’t sleep.
We all have our sleep number (like the adds on the radio and radio for Smart Bed). For some of us it’s eight hours a day. For others it’s more, and for some others it’s less. Sometimes a lot less…