What Happens When I Skip 8 Hours of Sleep

On sleep, and the lack of it.

Don't take a book to bed, reading might hamper a good night's sleep.
Don't take a book to bed, reading might hamper a good night's sleep.

Lay you head on a downy pillow and relax your body and fall into a dreamless stupor for eight hours every night. Sounds easy? To somebody like me and many others, this sounds like a dream.

As a mother of two, who is also setting up her own firm, juggling everything leaves just one thing in the day which I can squeeze time out of—sleep. While I don’t aim to be a perfect mom all the time (I sometimes forget to get my kids’ homework done, I sometimes let them watch TV longer than they should on weekdays because I just don’t have the strength for anymore battles), still, being a parent and a managing the house and working, leaves out time for only four hours of sleep on many days.

I used to pride myself on my ability to keep functioning on just three to four hours’ of sleep for many nights in a row. That I entered a zombie-like state is another story (many times I forget what I had gone to the refrigerator for, and on one very sleep-deprived occasion, sat in a chair with a cup of coffee and woke up with a start few minutes later to the sound of a coffee cup clattering on the floor). Sweet oblivion takes over for few minutes so that the body can keep functioning.

After a few continuous nights of four hours of sleep, finally the body stops functioning and then one night I crash at 10.30 pm instead of 2 am. And then I am ready to function in the zombie like state again for next few days.

I saw this message on a T shirt in a store once: “Dear sleep, I am sorry I did not appreciate you when I was younger”… and my heartfelt empathy with whoever wrote that line.

My takeaway? Do not ignore when your body is craving for the shuteye during the day, it may be a result of lack of sleep at night. Even if you have a lot on your plate, make sure you try getting more sleep by giving up some of the other distractions such as television, smartphones, even books (I have spent many night hours trying to get to the end of a good thriller, though I know this sounds like blasphemy to book lovers to give up reading time for sleep, but believe me, an unsolved murder may interfere with more than just the protagonist’s plans in the book).

Listen to some favourite music, and let yourself drift away to a beautiful world of dreams, or better still, a dreamless sound sleep which you wake refreshed from all ready to fight new battles.

Want to share your story of how you thrive? Write to us at editorial.india@thriveglobal.com

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- Marcus Aurelius

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