What I’m Grateful For: Sleep – and Insomnia (again)
If you tally it all up…. we spend about a third of our lives asleep (or at least we are supposed to, if we get our ‘recommended’ eight hours a night!).
That’s a lot of life, when you stop to think about it.
Sleep didn’t come easy for me as a child. I had a strange, very high fever around the age of 5 and had several days of hallucinations and unexplained symptoms. When I emerged, I couldn’t stand any dark corners and had terrible insomnia for years, until I was in my teens. I am acutely attuned to the mental maps of insomnia, the fear in the pit of your stomach that you will not be able to get to sleep, that you’ll spend all night quasi-awake and trying desperately to sleep because you know how bad tomorrow will be with no rest….
But luckily, I sleep well now…. and I am grateful for it every single night. I credit the years of insomnia for my eternal gratefulness to the joy of a good night’s sleep. I have been thinking a lot lately about the fact that we humans don’t tend to gratitude towards the little things… unless we’ve gone without. Even then, it’s easy to fall back into complacency and entitlement. I think that remembering how it was, when it was bad, is essential to knowing how to rejoice, when it is good.
What I’m Reading: Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity by Charles Duhigg. This is a fun new book, by the author of The Power of Habit. Great writing, engaging anecdotes, lots of research and studies cited. My favorite kind of read! Here’s the first nugget I gleaned:
Internal Locus of Control – This appears to be strongly correlated with both motivation AND happiness. If you feel like you have control over your life, or you can make your own choices, fundamentally this will affect both your motivation and your happiness. A hilarious example from the book: elderly patients in a nursing home decided to rebelliously break the rules and remodel and rearrange their living quarters. They even broke into a supply room to steal a crowbar to move the wardrobes (which were bolted to the walls, of course.) The director sternly told them that if they disliked the room arrangements, they could just ask the staff to redo things – but the residents vehemently disagreed, saying they wanted to do it for themselves. Not surprisingly, they ended up also physically healthier, ate better, got more exercise and had a much better time.
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What I’m Pondering: “I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?” ― Ernest Hemingway