Go Back To Sleep
I haven’t finished Arianna Huffington’s book, “The Sleep Revolution,” because I keep nodding off.
That’s because I - like you, probably - drift through life in a constant state of exhaustion. We all do, according to the author, the patron saint of the sheets.
Sleep deprivation is an epidemic, she writes. It damages our looks and our internal organs.
I don’t need Ms. Huffington to tell me I need to get more sleep. I know. I have a mirror.
I go to bed too late - heck, I just looked at the clock, it’s nearly midnight - and get up too early.
Every morning I stumble to the kitchen where I down cup after cup of black coffee. Later in the day, I switch to iced tea followed by a double-shot latte. Caffeine keeps me upright.
After dinner I sit down to scribble something for you to read the next morning. I turn off the computer around 2 am and head to bed, where I fire up my iPad to read my digital copy of Huffington’s book. I’m comatose in about 30 seconds.
Huffington’s thesis - so far, anyway - is that we’ve been shamed into thinking that sleep is time wasted. It’s not. It’s the secret to health, beauty, weight control, youth and keen minds. Yes, Huffington is an insufferable sleep evangelist, but she’s not wrong about this.
If we could figure out how to sleep more, we’d be happier. Plus, we could stop using under-eye concealer.
I spend at least $500 a year on the stuff.
I read somewhere - my mind isn’t sharp, I’m too tired to remember where - that if you can just get one good night’s sleep a week, it can make up for all those others.
Like Fitbit addicts everywhere I know exactly how much sleep I get because my magic wrist band pulses a little light on my skin that records my unconscious time. Let’s take a peek, shall we: 6 hr 8 min, 3 hr 58 min, 7 hr 8 min, 5 hr 51 min 6 hr 4 min, 7 hr 11 min and oh look here, 8 hr 19 min.
The latter was my catch-up night.
On Friday nights I jump into bed early, pop an Advil PM, wash it down with wine - no lectures, please, wine is mostly water — and sink into a deep slumber.
Full of weird disturbing dreams.
For decades my recurring dream was that I’d broken into someone’s house. My parents’ old place, a politician’s mansion, your home, maybe. When the owner returned I always panicked and was unable to speak. Fortunately, none of my home invasions resulted in a shooting.
Lately, however, I’m having those tedious unprepared-for-school nightmares.
Last Friday, for instance. I was back in high school, but I was not young. I was my current age. No, not going to tell you what that is. The principal, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, was telling me I had to pass five exams that day - including one on Greek mythology - to get my high school diploma.
“But I have a college degree,” I protested. “Isn’t that enough?”
“Nope,” Julia Louis-Dreyfus replied sternly. “This is a box you have to check.”
“Can’t I just get a GED?” I whined. “I bet I could pass that test without studying.”
“A GED?” sneered Julia Louis-Dreyfus. “You want to be known as the writer with a GED?”
Next, Julia Louis-Dreyfus noticed that I’d been drinking - apparently I “reeked” of liquor - and was about to send me to detention when I jolted awake. Panting.
I rolled over, looked at my Fitbit.
Eight hours 19 minutes, Arianna. Didn’t do me any good.