We’ve gazed into the eyes of creatures on the bottom of the oceans, played with the dark side of the moon and as of the last few weeks, potentially managed to make something travel quicker than the speed of light.
Clever beings are we.
Yet I still find it somewhat strange… amusing even, that Michael Phelps, Vladimir Putin, The Dalai Lama, Mark Zukerberg, Madonna and even the seemingly indefatigable Berlusconi probably spend at least 5 hours of their days unconscious.
These are some pretty energetic people and yet their bodies render them immobile for perhaps a quarter or more of their lives. One minute a nuclear scientist is tinkering with quantum physics and a few minutes later they could be asleep, dreaming of sweet nothing.
My own battle with sleep has been ongoing.
The adage, ‘you get all the sleep you need when you’re dead’ makes no sense to me. The extra couple of hours I gain by reducing my sleep are easily outweighed by the grumpiness felt. I’d rather live less, or die early and feel energetic and awake, such is the drag of tiredness on my mood.
I sleep about eight or even eight and a half hours a night.
Shocking, I know.
What a waste. I could be fluent in an extra couple of languages. Many an evening might have had a more licentious had it not been for my drooping lids.
When I tell people how ‘much’ I sleep, I’m often met by the same pieces of advice. “You’ve just got to train myself” they say, chirpily before diving off to set their alarms for quarter to six in order to enjoy a morning’s yoga session before a breakfast meeting.
Perhaps I haven’t trained hard enough, but when I’ve tried or been forced to reduce my sleep I’ve just not enjoyed my days nearly as much and after a month or two, I find that a rather compelling reason to give up the training.
Perhaps it’s time for some rigorous analysis of diets, exercise and some serious scientific experiments.
Yep, you guessed it.
I could just accept that I need a bit more sleep and enjoy that fact. We’re all different creatures. Just because some of my friends can hop and skip all night long only to spring out of bed 5 hours later doesn’t mean that I too should be able to too.
Nowadays, I sleep without an alarm. The benefit of being self-employed means that if I’m clever about my meetings and calls, I can build this ‘disability’ (or to an insomniac, perhaps a coveted ability) into my life.
It would be nice to linger a little longer at weekday dinners, or be a little perkier in meetings after a sometimes inevitable shortage of sleep. As such it is certainly worth doing a few experiments. But rather than it drive me mad, I’m happy to slip into bed a little earlier than some and sleep a little longer than most.
Some sleepy achievers: