Not too long ago I got pretty sick. That’s probably a bit of an understatement, actually. I was really, really sick for almost a year. Then I got some better doctors who figured out why I was sick and what I needed to do to get better.
Besides some amazing and horrible drugs, my rheumatologist prescribed a number of lifestyle changes that she said were just as important. Number on on that list was getting as much sleep as possible. “If you can sleep till noon, then sleep till noon,” she said.
I can’t adequately explain how important those words have been in my life. For the better part of a decade I had been plagued with insomnia, and sometime didn’t get to sleep until three, four, five in the morning. The only way I could function at all was to sleep until 10 or 11 a.m., and that wasn’t nearly enough sleep for me to perform well.
But here’s the thing– I felt incredibly guilty every time I slept past 7 a.m. It was something that was ingrained in me since I was a teenager, this idea that it was sort of immoral to sleep late. Sleeping in was equated with laziness in my family.
So, when my doctor told me that getting as much sleep as possible was as important to my recovery as the chemotherapy drugs she prescribed, it was like someone had given me an incredible gift! I had be given permission- no!- I had been given an order to sleep anytime I could. There was no longer a moral component attached to napping. It was so liberating.
And, almost immediately, my insomnia went away. I think that was because my brain was no longer under pressure to get to sleep ASAP so that I could start tomorrow on time.
Today, I make it a project to try to get a minimum of eight hours of sleep every single night. Some nights I get ten, and on rare occasions I sleep for 12. And if I find myself getting sleepy at 2 in the afternoon, I take a nap.
In spite of all that time spent snoozing, I am more productive than I’ve ever been. It’s amazing what being well rested does for your ability to function and be creative!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you get enough sleep? And do you think there’s something immoral about sleeping late or napping? Let’s discuss.