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Sleep? Who has time?

Submitted by on Monday, 2 June 2008 No Comment

Originally published May 8, 2008, thehive.modbee.com

God love the Centers for Disease Control.

Just when I had made peace – again – with my night owl habits, along comes a new study linking less than six hours’ sleep a night to health problems such as obesity.

Six hours? Only in my wildest dreams – and I rarely hit REM sleep long enough to have even mild dreams these days.

I get up at 5. OK, I’m lying — I pound the snooze alarm until 5:30. Tonight, the guys didn’t give it up until after 9. Which means that only if I went to bed as soon as they fell asleep would I come close to the eight to nine hours the government says is optimal.

And that’s assuming I could conk out as soon as my head hit the pillow. Which I can’t – my mind’s always too jumbled with the many things undone on the day’s to-do list and the equally daunting list for tomorrow.

Tempting as it is to blame it all on the guys, sleep has been a problem since my early teens, when I figured out that baseball teams kept playing on the West Coast until around 1 a.m Eastern Time. That was back in the glory days of AM radio, when a clear night could carry you from Boston to St. Louis. It wasn’t hard to find a late game.

College made me a walking Visine commercial, as I juggled jobs and ridiculous course loads in a vain attempt to earn two degrees in four years.

Post-graduate, I could have relaxed, but I didn’t. I spent years catching up on leisure reading, movies missed while I crammed, projects I just had to finish. I jammed my schedule with volunteer work and community theater.

I’d awaken bleary-eyed and vow to slow down. Then I quit vowing when I’d toss, turn and kick myself around for not keeping my promise to myself. Finally, I accepted what my body had tried to tell me for years.

I’m a night owl living a morning lark’s life.

It’s not that I can’t function in the a.m. – give me enough French roast and I’ll do an amazing imitation of being alert. It’s just that my brain doesn’t truly wake up until 10 or so. I see the same pattern in the guys. We’ll all sit around practically comatose in early evening, but when the nominal bedtime rolls around, we’re wired.

Which leads me to my current problem: No time to catch up.

Used to be, I could laze around all weekend, staying in bed until the crack of noon. These days, no matter how late the guys stay up – and 10:30ish is their outer limit – they’re bouncing on my bed, ready to romp by 8 the next morning.

It looks like I’m living the “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” cliché.

Except, if the recent CDC study is right, I could get my chance to play catch-up a lot more quickly than if I’d just hit the hay for a solid eight each night.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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