Not sleeping shouldn’t be a badge of honor, a bragging right, something to be proud of. “I can sleep when I’m dead,” shouldn’t be a motto to live by (it’s also the name of my third most played song on iTunes, but my addiction to bad country music is neither here nor there).
Last week I was talking to a friend, and I use that term loosely, and he asked how many hours I usually sleep. I said eight. He responded by asking me how I had so much free time. He, you see, unlike me, was too busy to sleep. And I, you see, unlike him, was too busy to have spent the last four hours watching Shakira music videos on Youtube. But I digress.
I have always been a bad sleeper. I toss. I turn. I check my cell phone. NYT updates me that the House didn’t pass the Violence Against Women Act. And I’m awake. Last year it got to a point where I would spend more time awake in bed than asleep. Thinking about sleep, or more accurately my inability to sleep, not only made me feel stressed and scared it also made me feel angry. Mainly I was angry at myself for not being able to do something that was supposed to be so basic. But I was also angry at a culture that doesn’t prioritize sleep. Even though I know first hand how destructive, not only physically, but also mentally, not sleeping can be.
We talk about insomnia and we talk about people who can fall asleep anytime and anywhere, but what about the people who fall somewhere in between, who vacillate between good nights and bad nights. My sleep cycle still isn’t perfect but it is definitely better and that’s mainly because I stopped seeing sleep as something trivial and I started making it a priority (but also because of the sleep app Brain Wave. If you don’t have it, download it!)