The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Your Eyelids Are Getting Very Heavy

While blogsurfing yesterday, I read something at LC's place . Like most of her readers, I'd imagine, I started counting on my fingers to see if my own kids were getting enough sleep. My six year old is getting nine hours a night, but my teens are getting just shy of eight.

They get up at 5AM to catch a 6:05AM bus. Not much chance of them sleeping later. And they are going to bed, a 15 year old and an almost 17 year old, at 9PM, to get the sleep they ARE getting, which is definitely not something you do when you're cool.

While, intellectually, I understand the importance of getting enough sleep, I'm hardly setting the best example, either. I'm up no later than 6AM every day (some days...when Highlander isn't spoiling me utterly...I'm up at 5AM), and, rarely, am I in bed before 10:30.

So, like showing my kids that reading and eating healthy are important, maybe I need to be setting a better example myself. Adults are supposed to be getting 7-9 hours each night. Teens, around 9. Younger children 10. Do any of you know anyone who gets that much? I honestly don't think I do. And maybe that's a big factor in why things like chronic illnesses are getting such a big leg up on us.

I suppose that most people realize that a lack of sleep can affect your coordination or your judgement. Some may even recognize that long term sleep debt will net you some other problems. Most people won’t know that the health risks can be pretty significant. Moreso, if the lack of sleep continues unabated.

The most immediate factors are similar to drunkenness, pallid skin and bags under the eyes, a lack of coordination and judgement. Longer term problems include a higher risk of obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure and stress), even diabetes and cancer. The latter two, presumably, from the increased hormones secreted into the blood stream by an overcompensating body.

You also age faster when you don’t sleep adequately, picking up lovely traits like memory loss associated with advanced age. You lose sex drive and weight loss becomes more difficult. In general, it’s pretty rough on you. And, likely, the people who interact with you.

Sleep deprivation has been linked to the Exxon Valdiz accident and the Challenger shuttle explosion, as well as far too many accidents to list. Makes you want to equip cars with little testers that must be passed before the car will start.

Had enough sleep? Perform these three quick tasks in the allotted time and your car will start.

(Heh. The car manufacturers would love that. Of course, they’d hate me anyway if I were in charge. I’d eliminate speeding by insisting cars couldn’t be made that went above the speed limit. I realize that’s a hit below the testosterone belt, but it makes perfect sense to me. )

The thought of doctors working 24 hour shifts has been explored to death, but it’s a true threat. Air traffic controllers, too. (Though, their plight has gotten better.)

Nobody seems to take sleep very seriously. There’s always something else, more important, on the schedule. But, you can’t catch up a week’s worth of missed sleep over a weekend. It just doesn’t work that way. Your body won’t let you add 5 extra hours, so that you can sleep 14 hours on Sunday.

My routine involves getting all my kiddies in bed between 9 and 9:30, and then I take an hour or so to unwind. I watch a little tv, or catch up email, or pay bills, or do some laundry, or snuggle with my boy. 5AM does come awfully early, though.

I often wish I could just get right in bed and go to sleep when the kids do. I know it would be better for me. But I can't figure out how to get everything done that needs to be done if I do. So, if you're one of those people who IS getting the daily required sleep levels, enlighten the rest of us. How do you get everything done in your day? And what time do you go to sleep and rise? I'm genuinely curious.

My kids WON'T go to bed any earlier. Hard to make them when it's still daylight outside. And none of us can afford to sleep in any later and still make it where we're going on time.

What's the answer? Slow death? Better, passing those same habits on to your children so that they inherit the problems that go with a lifetime of sleep deprivation? Hiring a little man with a mallet to conk you (and everyone else in your family) in the noggin at 8PM every night? Likely, it's winning the lottery and hiring people to take care of things, so you don't have to do everything.

Okay, okay. Mike Norton, I will concede that money can buy a longer, easier life...but that's still not happiness.

You think Dubya is getting enough sleep? Maybe he needs a nap. Maybe if he got enough sleep he wouldn't be all cranky and sending soldiers to Iraq to show the arabs just how cranky he really is. I've seen enough cranky babies in my time to know how much a nap can adjust your attitude. I'd like to know how much sleep he's getting. I mean, he's making pretty important decisions that affect you and me and, well, the whole world, actually. You think Babs got him on a good, solid sleep schedule back in the day? Just wondering.

Okay, everybody, lay your heads down on your desks. I'm turning out the lights for thirty minutes. Consider it my gift to you.


Blogger Spider Girl said...

Aside from not getting everything done that you need to accomplish in a day if you go to bed at 8 (which would be impossible to make my kids do either!) the other issue is, you need some time to chill and just do whatever you feel like. Life will become very tedious very quickly if all you do is wake up, run to work, work all day, run home, do some more work cleaning up and making dinner and packing lunches, etc, and then dive right into bed so the next thing you know, you are jumping out of bed and running to work again. If thats all you get with your time on earth, whats the point?

Not that a couple of hours of paying bills, doing laundry, or vegging in front of the TV before falling exhausted into bed are my idea of a wonderful life, but you know what i mean.

5/09/2006 5:13 PM  
Anonymous L.C. said...

Yay! Someone read my post! They like me, they really like me!

5/09/2006 5:18 PM  
Blogger Your Girl Friday said...

Never more than 7 hours sleep on weeknights. WAY too busy to sleep! :)

I tend to binge sleep on weekends to compensate, but you are right when you say it doesn't help. I just feel lethargic because I over sleep.


5/10/2006 12:40 AM  
Blogger AaA said...

H can tell you that chronic sleep deprivation is a wonderful tool for brain-washing. Maybe we brain-wash ourselves to accept this world as normal, so we don't go barking mad because of it.

I gotta get a normal schedule so I can sleep better.

5/10/2006 11:52 PM  

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