February 15, 2008

Sleep


My relationship with sleep has been a good one, for the most part. Or at least that's how I think of it. But upon further reflection I think that I have been something of a jerk in the relationship.

I enjoy sleeping, and periodically bemoan the fact that I wasn't fortunate enough to be born into a culture more supportive of napping. When I used to do a lot of babysitting, I was constantly pleading with the sleep-resisting five year olds: "Trust me, you think you don't want to take a nap, but in twenty years or so you're going to really want one and not be able to get it, so just take it today, will you?" It didn't work, but it made me feel better.

Now that I'm a parent, and especially because we're into the thick of college application review season in my household, sleep has taken a bit of a hit. The lovely T often doesn't get home until what used to be our bedtime, and then of course there's all that catching up to do.

Poor sleep, taken for granted and always getting pushed further down on the list of priorities. I have made my peace with the crazier hours, and it was the early days of parenting that made it possible... once you let go of the idea that sleep should happen at a particular time during the day, it's less frustrating to find yourself still awake at 12:23am.

But I do pay a price. I can feel that my mind is not as sharp, that my balance is a little off, and that my temper runs shorter when I'm tired. I get a second wind, and I count on it, but I remember another trick from early parenting... the way to tell how tired you are is to remember how you felt when you first woke up that morning. Before coffee. Before your second wind. Like most people, I need more sleep than I get, but it seems that I am an unrepentant jerk... I've got another late night planned tonight. And no nap in sight.

(Thanks to the women of Sunday Scribblings
for their continuing inspiration.
I wrote about sleep in another vein at another time;
you can read that, too, if you like! It's over here.)

11 comments:

UL said...

I need my eight hours every night or I am cranky......a good sleep does make the mind sharp..this is a nice post. Thank you.

Becca said...

This is a lovely reflection on sleep. Isn't it ironic how children never seem to want to sleep, and adults never seem to get enough??

Life is perverse like that :)

Love the picture of your sleeping boy - is that the one going to college now?

ladybug12 said...

Sleep seems to be one of those things that is wasted on the young! LOL. There are days when I wish someone would send me to my room for a 2 hour nap! Great post.

Lilibeth said...

I need 8 hours too. But no matter how hard I try to sleep in, I'm up early. So if I'm going to sleep, I have to get to bed early in the evening.

paisley said...

i am a napper.. and i must say... it is bliss....

anthonynorth said...

I nap several times through the day - I couldn't perform without it.
Mindst you, having brought up 7 kids, I know the system very well.

Beautiful Witch said...

I agree - we sometimes treat sleep with contempt and just assume it will fall into where and when we demand it. Perhaps sleep is like a separate entity and gets all rebellious and childish at times. "I know you are, but what am I?" Ha ha. :)

forgetfulone said...

Lack of sleep - that's going to be my reasoning for my short temper. Actually, though, for me it's true! I love how you reflect on sleep, and your picture is perfect.

tumblewords said...

Ah, sleep... or not. Amazing how it seems to elude me - Great post, here!

gautami tripathy said...

I sleep 5 hours. Sometimes I can go for a siesta too. Lack of sleep tends to make me cranky too.

snooze time, baby!

Jane Poe (aka Deborah) said...

I'm aching for more sleep in this household & more "restful" sleep ... you know, the sleep that doesn't end with a sense of foreboding or a sleep that isn't filled with anxiety-ridden dreams. I want that lovely slumber that soothes body & soul!
Great post and pics, JP/deb