All clients, friends, family, and colleagues know about my passion for sleep. Not just how much I enjoy it, but more specifically how fascinating the prospect of sleep actually is. Think about it, we literally spend a third of our time above the dirt, below the covers. To quote Dr. Matthew Walker, professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California, “If sleep does not serve an absolutely vital function, then it is the biggest mistake that the evolutionary process has ever made.”
I want to make clear that I feel great sorrow for those who have lost loved ones or been adversely affected by this global pandemic. It has definitely affected us all, some more than others, and some in ways that we aren’t aware of right now. That being said, while there has been much sadness and despair throughout this current healthcare crisis, I have been very fortunate to gain something that proved to be quite elusive in the months leading up to our current state as a country and world. More sleep. Admittedly, attaining an adequate amount of sleep on a regular basis is something I preach to all clients, ad nauseam, but I must be transparent and acknowledge that I have been failing at practicing what I preach. I can now reluctantly admit that this hypocrisy was driven primarily by professional aspirations and commitments to clients. I love serving my clients and helping people in general, but sometimes I think that the need to help and please others has trumped some of my own needs.
In addition to the constant reminders of acquiring adequate sleep, I am also guilty of another hypocritical hiccup. I have long mentioned, even in a detailed blog post, that we should all aim to put on our own metaphorical oxygen masks before helping others. With this post, I am attempting to knock down two birds with one stone, and address both of these shortcomings as they tend to go hand in hand.
Tracking Sleeping Trends
Most people who know me, know that at times I enjoy incorporating certain technology into different parts of life. One piece of technology that I have been using for a while now, is the Withings/Nokia Health Sleep Tracking Mat. As far as sleep trackers go, I like the mat because I don’t have to wear or recharge anything. Just plug it in, sync it, sit back, and enjoy the copious amounts of data flowing from REM cycle to your smartphone.
The problem with having this sleep tracker, at least my own personal problem, was that up until now I didn’t really use all of that data to elicit any change or improvement in my life, or anyone else’s for that matter. I’m here to claim that knowledge isn’t power, only when you decide to put that knowledge into action does it become meaningful at all. Check this out, in February, my pre-COVID (at least prior to our reaction to it) weekday sleep average was only six and a half hours! Compare that to my weekend average of eight and a half hours, and we’re talking a stark contrast of two whole hours of sleep.
Fast forward to March, keeping in mind that the first day that I worked from home and didn’t clock in at 5:30am was Tuesday, March 17th, and the sleep average jumped to a weekday average of seven and a half hours! Jump ahead another month, and the weekday average surpasses eight hours, for what I believe to be the first time in my adult life. So yes, this pandemic has wreaked havoc on most of us in many ways, but the silver lining for me anyways, was a 31 percent increase in average sleep time. Unfortunately, there is an societal association of laziness with sleep, but I promise you that the last two months have been anything but lazy. The good news is that so far in May, the trend is continuing.
The Bottom Line
This post has served two functions. One being a confessional of my own shortcomings of following through on the advice that I prescribe to my loyal clientele. The other being a self reflection/case study hybrid that has provided me some very palpable, albeit anecdotal, changes in my own energy level, creative juices, and the likelihood of being disengaged with the people who don’t deserve it.
I have been discovering quite a few silver linings to adhering to CDC recommended social distancing protocols and local government stay-at-home orders. I am one of the fortunate ones, forever grateful, that my line of work and my wonderfully supportive clients have helped me professionally weather this storm. When things progress to the next normal, whatever that may look like, I plan on taking these silver linings and applying them to the best of my ability. Hopefully those reading this can sift through their own misfortune, however trivial or minor it may seem in the grand scheme of things, and find a few gems worth holding onto as we all move forward and remember what we learned during these tough times. Oh, and get some sleep, because when this is all over, I know I will!
Prevention over treatment,