When was the last time you woke up naturally in the morning, just because you’d had enough sleep? Not because the cat jumped on your face or because the kids needed breakfast or because your partner was awake rummaging around for clean underwear? Not because the phone rang or a roadwork crew started jackhammering at 7:00 am or because you had to pee and just couldn’t ignore it anymore? And not because the alarm woke you?

And whose bright idea was it to come up with a clock that suddenly starts clanging, ringing or playing music as a sensible method of waking people up? I totally get why they call it an “alarm” clock – especially when you accidentally turn up the volume on your clock-radio while dusting it.

It can’t be healthy to get jarred out of a sound sleep day after day after day, no matter what the method, can it? And yet, I reckon it’s almost impossible for any grown-up to sleep until they’ve actually had just enough sleep. You’d need a completely soundproof, lightproof room without anyone or anything wandering in to wake you up.

In fact, they say that if you’re not in complete darkness and complete silence you’re not even sleeping as deeply as you should in the first place.

The room you sleep in is vital to getting rest. Make sure it is dark, clean and has good ventilation. Try to keep the air fresh and the room temperature between 60 and 65 degrees for the best sleeping conditions.

Do you know that in totally scientific experiments, lab rats that were denied a chance to rest properly died within 2 to 3 weeks?

And even if you don’t die right away, here are some other things that happen to you when you don’t sleep enough or don’t sleep properly:

  • Poor attention and motivation span.
  • Memory lapses
  • Decreased initiative, judgement,decision-making and problem-solving ability
  • Increased irritability.
  • Impaired ability to think
  • Decreased ability to handle stress
  • Negative impacts on the immune system
  • Depression
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • Slower reaction times
  • Dramatic weight gain (Because the amount and quality of the sleep we get affects our hormone levels)

Oh, and tiredness. Adults are always tired.

All this time we’ve been envious of all the energy kids have thinking it was because they were young and we were old. And really it was just because the little bastards get 14 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.

All of which also explains why hating bedtime and relishing bedtime is the one thing that most clearly sets most of us apart from children.


24 responses to “ZZzzzZZZzzzzZZZZzzzzz

  1. One of the benefits I’ve reaped from being sick and unemployed is that I’m finally getting enough sleep. It’s lovely, these ten-hour nights and mid-afternoon naps. I don’t even have to get up to feed the cat, since GC does that on his way out. Then the cat comes back to bed and snuggles back up with me until I’m ready to wake up for entirely good and natural reasons. It’s so civilized.

  2. So if I sleep 14 hours I’ll lose all the exta weight? Cool.

    Actually though I usually manage that on weekends. I’ll get up and go to the loo, but I can do that without really waking, and when, as he often does, Mr. Jazz gets up I’ll vaguely hear him but I drop back into sleep easily and usually wake up on my own between 9:30 and 11:00. Damn I love to sleep.

  3. I have a hell of a time getting enough sleep. It’s really awful!

    Poor attention and motivation span. Check!
    Memory lapses Check! Wait what was the question again? LOL
    Decreased initiative, judgement,decision-making and problem-solving ability-Check (I guess!)
    Increased irritability. -Fuck yeah! Check! 😉
    Impaired ability to think -Umm what? Check!
    Decreased ability to handle stress &^%$$! Check!
    Negative impacts on the immune system -*Coughs* Check!
    Depression *sighs* Check!
    irritability Check! Grr!
    Slower reaction times ..Check!
    Dramatic weight gain (Because the amount and quality of the sleep we get affects our hormone levels) Thankfully, not yet. But being on the pill has made me gain a bit of weight.

  4. To answer your first question – sometime in mid-February, 1993… just before my firstborn arrived.

    As far as the sleep deprivation = death thing… I don’t buy it… if it were true, there would be no such thing as a multi-child family because the Moms would be dead inside 9 months of having the first.

    I can “occasionally” sleep for 6 hours straight, but it’s rare. And during the first 2 years of our youngest’s existence, my wife and I almost never went more than 2 hours straight and 5 hours total due to the little guy having an acid reflux problem…

    Pshaw! Sleep is for wimps!

  5. i’ve noticed that some folks solve the sleepless-parent question by just sleeping with the kids for a while. especially nursing moms. makes sense to me. i can tell you that nannying i get more sleep (if it’s an overnighter) if they sleep with me. and there’s really nothing like having a snoozing baby on your chest to inspire somnolence. grandpa is great for this; the littles sleep on him and then the rest of us can get a few minutes of awake time to do other things.

    alarm clocks were delivered to earth in a special delivery from Hell, and i have banned them from the house. what’s very odd is that it’s very, very rare that i don’t wake between three and fifteen minutes *before* the alarm goes, even on the rare even that i do set one on my phone for a special purpose. is that odd? how does my body know what time it is?? setting an alarm is a one-off thing, so it’s not like i’m just used to waking up at a certain time. i can’t figure it out.

  6. Zoom – Well, you seem to pack a lot into the other 12 hours when you’re not sleeping and your poor body needs lots of rest these days, so it’s all good.

    Jazz – What time do you go to bed in the first place if you can sleep until 11:00?? You know it’s just as dangerous for an adult to sleep more than 7-8 hours per day than it is to sleep less, right?

    Hannah – Bandobras sent me a UK study yesterday that showed most married couples who share a bed don’t get enough sleep or a proper night’s sleep and how damaging it is to their health.

    Meanie – We’re all going to die.

    Trashee – Ya, most parents never get to sleep in until their kids are teenagers and start sleeping until noon. Of course by this time, we’re up all night waiting for them and worrying that they’re in a ditch somewhere.

    Hallie – My baby slept with me until she stopped nursing. Much simpler all around (except for the big heck you get from friends and family). And I always used to wake up on my own just before the alarm too or even earlier sometimes. Now my cat wakes me up at 5:25 on the nose every freakin’ day. I actually can’t remember the last time I even heard my alarm.

  7. Oh how I love my bed! There is nothing sweeter than a quiet house, a good book and a full night’s sleep awaiting me!

  8. XUP-I’m not surprised by the study. My husband and I have completely different sleep schedules. He wakes me up when he comes to bed late and I wake him at 6am getting ready for work. Plus, he snores and I apparently “hog” the covers! LOL

  9. I don’t sleep very well because I get the Wild Monkey Mind at bedtime so I read until I pass out and if a book is really good I read for hours and then it is morning. Since I am going to die in a few weeks I will just stop worrying about shit.

  10. I actually got to sleep as long as I needed to when I was on vacation. No dog who wanted let in our out, no freakin’ gardener at 6:30 at the neighbor’s house behind us, no light, no husband getting ready for work at 5:00 am. It was bliss. And now I’m just back in hell. I can’t get a good night’s sleep at night (can’t shut my head off), so when the alarm goes off at 6:45 I’m dead. If I take a Tylenol PM to sleep through the night, then there’s no chance I’m going to get up in time for work. I try to make up for it on the weekends, but that never works, does it? I guess I’m doomed to live a life of sleep deprivation.

  11. When my body first overcame the shock of working nights, (and sporadically during the day) it settled into a wonderful routine and woke itself up every three hours, no alarm needed. I ended up with almost 8 hours of sleep but in chunks. That worked rather well for a few years. Now, it is into the rebellious interrupted sleep which could last anywhere from 20 minutes to 6 hours (unless I am on holidays where I seem to sleep the sleep of the dead well before I am ready to be dead).

  12. As Warren Zevon says: I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

    Mostly I just sleep *like* the dead. I can fall asleep anywhere, any time. I’ve napped in the dentist’s chair, on the ultrasound table, and sitting in the very front row of a very loud movie theatre (opening day of Batman, the one with Jack Nicholson). It’s a gift.

  13. I KNEW I was gaining all the weight from not sleeping well. Could you give me a note to my boss to allow me to start my day when I wake up naturally? As for dusting the alarm clock, why bother if we’re all going to die from the bloody thing going off???

  14. I’m in the going to bed early mind frame. I’m so used to getting up early. And now I do it to exercise….so, is it going to bed early or getting up and exercising that’s taken off a little bit of weight?

    And, thanks for reccommending Harold and the purple crayon. I got it at the library and can’t wait to read it to the grandkids!

  15. Julie – yes indeed. I look forward to it all day

    Hannah – Two words: separate beds.

    Cedar – You crack me up, but there you go – glad I could solve a small problem for you.

    Mo – At least you’ll always have the memory of that sleepy vacation.

    Violetsky – I still don’t think your sleep habits can be healthy. But whatever works for you, I guess.

    Milan – Thanks! Interesting.

    Alison – Man, that IS a gift. I have several family members who can do that, including my mum. It always scared the crap out of me when I was a kid. Still does, actually.

    Connie – Hey, welcome to the blog! Feel free to give your boss this blog post. That should be all you need.

    Susan – I like to get up early, too. You can get a lot done in the wee hours. Glad to know it’s working for you, too. And really glad you are enjoying Harold. It’s such a very cool book, isn’t it? I think there are about 3 or 4 of them in the series last time I checked (which was years ago)

  16. i giggled about “the little bastards”… i was just telling someone today i can’t understand why my son is so sleepy on school mornings, he gets like 10 1/2 hours of sleep a night.

    i have all of those lack of sleep symptoms. i guess i should stop staying up so late. the main reason i do is that it is the only time that i can be free of people and animals needing something from me.

  17. I always get as much sleep as I want but I still have:

    Poor attention and motivation span.
    Memory lapses
    Decreased initiative, judgement,decision-making and problem-solving ability
    Impaired ability to think
    Slower reaction times
    Dramatic weight gain

    But I’m pretty sure that’s from all the beer.

  18. lol @ the little bastards. Umm, you know the post about stay at home moms? I’m a stay at home mom, BUT none of my kids are home. My oldest picked up the car pool duty last year and drops the younger one off. The younger one has football practice until 5:30, when he is picked up by his father. So to answer your question… nearly everyday. I’m going to go sneak into the younger ones bed now and snuggle up for some really deep sleep. He will kiss me goodbye in the morning and give me the blankie he hides when his friends come over, I will snuggle up to it and go back to sleep with a smile on my face. 🙂

  19. You also forget that famous statistic about minimal sleep turning one into a power crazy meglomaniac- Margaret Thatcher reportedly survived on 4 hours a night. More awake time equals more potential for damage.

  20. Oh, I am under no illusions that my sleep habits are even remotely healthy. But, I do love waking up without an alarm, and most of the time I get that little bit of joy.

  21. I firmly believe that children sneak into your bedroom in the wee small hours and suck the energy out of you with a straw. This explains why, no matter when you go to bed, you have no energy and the kids have loads.

  22. I sleep soundly every night and wake up all by myself.
    Its from having a clear conscience.
    Or no conscience…… not sure which.