Friday, March 4, 2011

Got sleep?

I had the hardest time concentrating today. Usually, all it takes is a tepid shower and a couple of cups of coffee to turn me into a lean, mean working machine. This morning, though, even the change of scene - and a third cup of joe - provided by the nearest Starbucks didn't do the trick.

I mentioned my attention deficit in an email to my critique partners around lunchtime. They dared suggest that I try some...drum roll...sleep.

The audacity! I thought. I get plenty of sleep! Five or six hours every night, whether I need it or not. Even though, admittedly, sometimes I feel guilty about giving up and going to bed.

I decided to do a bit of research. The consensus is that adults require an average of seven to eight hours of shut-eye daily, and that chronic sleep deprivation can affect not only the memory and the ability to process information, but also increase the likelihood of work-related or automobile accidents and contribute to serious health issues such as heart attack, stroke, obesity and psychiatric problems.

Wow. And I thought being tired just made people cranky.

My dog gets plenty of sleep.

Finally, I read this fascinating blog post by Martha Beck; she says that during periods of intense creativity, restructuring takes place in our brains, necessitating extra sleep. If that's true, I probably should be sleeping at least twelve hours out of twenty-four, because everything I am trying to accomplish - from teaching piano to revising my novel - is requiring creativity I didn't even know I possessed. My brain must be some kind of wrinkled gray transformer.

We live in a society that wears sleep deprivation like a badge of honor, and my demanding schedule and chronic insomnia make a wicked combination. But the bottom line is I will write better if I rest better.

I'm going for seven hours tonight.


Carley said...

I'm sure you're familiar with the ending of the phrase about "burning a candle @ both ends". I love you & hope you start allowing yourself more hours of sleep time as we selfishly need you in our world!

Pam said...

Yes... my motto has always been "I'll sleep when I'm dead" but I'm thinking that's not working so well for me these days! ;-) Live and learn, right?

Pamela Mason said...

Audacious.... I like that!

It's a good weekend for catching up on some zzzzz's.

Pamela Mason said...

Audacious... I like that!

Good weekend to catch up on some zzzzz's.

Carol Burnside aka Annie Rayburn said...

Try Sleep-Aid, available at Wal-Mart. Helps you get to sleep. There's also Mid-Nite that you can take even if you wake at 2 a.m. and need 3 more hrs. Just makes you sleepy.

Can you tell I suffer from insomnia? The older we get, the more sleep is important for mental acuity.

Pam said...

Pamela, I had to be in Morrow, GA at 9:00 this morning, so there was no sleeping in for me. Maybe tomorrow...

Pam said...

Carol, thanks for the suggestions. I will add both products to my arsenal!