I'd like to propose a little mid-life sleep appreciation.
Even as adults, there are some times in our lives when we just need extra sleep and rest.
Call these times what you will: transitions, periods of learning, thresholds, learning something new.
OK, so there's my theme. Learning and periods of change. But have you ever noticed how the learning and change process can really zap you?
By learning and change I mean: going back to school; intensively learning a new craft or art or professional skill. Or learning how to do something new in your daily life, like raise a child (I know, nobody gets the sleep they need here) or how to manage a team at work, or how to swim 20 length of the pool without stopping. Or getting your ass kicked going through one of life's lovely rough spots -- change, growth, etc.
So. In my twenties I lived in NYC and could be a bit of a tough bitch. I used to say "sleep was for babies." Now I am that baby. And right now my baby self is learning a bunch of new stuff (coaching, starting a business) and there's only one way for me to metabolize it all and deal. Sleep a bit more than usual.
I tried to fight it for a while but last week I just gave in. It feels pretty good too.
What's more rest than ususal? For starters, sleeping in. Getting up at 6:30 or 7am isntead of 5-stinkin'-thirty to swim every morning (sometimes a girl just needs a break). A nap on weekends. And some other random rest times that I'll keep to myself. Yes, last week I gave in and felt like a total rack monster. But Monday morning I woke up with a smile on my face because I was so well rested. Often, when my alarm goes off in the 5's, the first word that comes to me is a swear word.
Even so. Do I feel a bit like a good-for-nothing lazy person who may be covering up a case of the blahs or melancholy or just plain avoidance? Hell yeah! But when I asked myself if it could be something else -- that my body is really screaming out for extra rest to recoup, well -- that sounded like the real reason. The healthy reason. (Screw you, puritanical work ethic!)
This is just to say: Sometimes we just need a bit more sleep, rest and recoup time. If you're the type of person that pushes yourself through these phases with doubt and suspicion about the need to sleep, here' s a question for you:
What might life feel like if you treated yourself (and your family members) to some extra rest and recovery time -- every once in a while?
It may come back to save you.