After a few weeks of some pretty dodgy sleep on the part of our five-month-old baby, and a week of getting back on track (more on that soon), I’ve been mulling the significant effect slumber can have on our waking lives.
I know most of you are probably thinking, “duh,” but sleep has never been a massive priority for me. For better or for worse I’m one of those people that can function well and get by on minimal amounts of sleep – and even enjoy the buzz of feeling overtired and a little loopy. I’ve worked night shifts and long hours and pulled countless all-nighters for reasons ranging from warehouse raves to university essays to long chats with good friends and West Wing marathons. It’s taken years of conscious work on the “value” of sleep (and lots of pressure – ahem, encouragement – on my husband’s part) to get to a point where I prioritize it at all. By now I’m convinced that the amount and the quality of the sleep we get is crucial to emotional stability.
But delving into some of the (completely circumstantial, non-scientific) data, it’s become clear to me that the time I go to sleep – rather than how long I sleep for or how many times I’m woken to feed – is actually the strongest indicator of my mood. Find a date that I feel like everything sucks, that my husband and I fight, that I demolish an entire block of cooking chocolate – and I can almost guarantee you that we went to sleep later than usual the previous night.
Going to bed past midnight (read: 10pm) is taking the zzz out of my zen – just like Cinderella. There’s something about those hours of uninterrupted sleep before midnight (Gadi usually sleeps from at least 8pm-2am straight) that make my glass slippers (read: yoga pants) extra sparkly, boosting a positive outlook and strength of conviction that I’m finding crucial right now.
So that’s my big realization. As a result I’m making a concerted effort to cheer on my inner Sleeping Beauty – so as not to turn into a pumpkin (or worse – the Evil Stepmother!) right when I most need the magic.