What is it about sleep & rest that is at once both so vital and perceived as so dispensable?
“I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”
For many (including me at times), it just feels like there’s so much to do, that life is too short to waste a single moment of it on anything but living full out at top speed every moment. Whether that’s applied to a work project or adventuring or anything else, it’s as if the time doesn’t really count unless we’re awake and engaged and taking it all in. Doing.
And yes, we’ve all heard and understood the science behind sleep. Muscles being repaired, memories being consolidated, hormones being released to regulate growth, appetite, etc. The body is doing so very, very much during sleep. We quite literally cannot survive without it. And we quickly deteriorate physically and mentally if we don’t get enough.
So why is it perceived as less than in so many ways? For myself, I acknowledge the little control freak living inside me, the one that pipes up periodically saying what I need to do and how. The not-so-little voice saying don’t waste a second of this precious time. The little captain standing at the ship’s wheel dictating my actions when I’m awake.
When I’m asleep, the ship’s wheel controls are cut. Authority shifts over to other parts of my body, and my little ship’s captain control freak does not like that at all. Cap’n Freaky feels like there can’t possibly be high quality stuff getting done if she’s not calling the shots herself. Trust in someone else that I don’t fully understand and can’t see? What?
But lately, Cap’n Freaky has been feeling the effects of fighting this loss of control (aka sleep) over the years, feeling like she’s not really at the top of her game. And I’ve been having a bit of a conversation with her about other captains doing things that will make her job exponentially better. She may not be able to have a board meeting with these captains and discuss ideas, but we’re all invariably on the same page, working towards the same goal: to help me live my life to the fullest.
Cap’n Freaky is coming around. Some days more successfully than others. And my quality of life is grateful for that. It’s not just about the quantity of moments of time you have on this planet; it’s just as much about the quality of those moments. If I’m worn thin and haven’t given all the other captains a chance to do their thing (something they can only do when I’m asleep), then the level of quality in my waking moments is just silly.
Do you have your own Cap’n Freaky? Have you tried having a heart-to-heart about letting others help with the job?
Enjoy your sleep. Cap’n Freaky is starting to.