Oh, get your mind out of the gutter—I don’t mean that kind of sleeping! I’m talking, literally, taking my behind to bed and getting in some quality sleep time.
Let me explain: My friend and writer Meera Bowman-Johnson tagged me in a note on FaceBook last week, challenging me to get a minimum 7.5 hours a sleep every night for the next 30 days as part of the 2010 Sleep Challenge announced earlier this month by Ariana Huffington and Glamour’s Cindi Leive. Huffington and Leive insist that if we ladies squeeze in the roughly 7.5-hour minimum our bodies need to function happily and healthfully—instead of the paltry six hours most single working women and working moms with young kids tend to get—we’ll be more productive during our waking hours.
Now, being the productive chick I tend to be, I didn’t quite see at first how cutting into work time to—gasp!–sleep, would increase my productivity. “But then when,” I wrote on Meera’s wall, “do I get my writing done? And the dinner cooked? And the house cleaned? And the grocery shopping and laundry and errands finished? And the girls’ hair twisted? And their homework checked? And their extracurricular activities accomplished? And keep tabs on their teachers? And help in the classroom? And write the blog? And the helping everyone else with their books and blogs? And stay fit and sexy? And somewhere in there, I have to give my husband some… 7.5 hours is a LOT of time… LOL! (Only half LOL…)
Of course, seeing as Meera’s a busy, accomplished mom of three young kids, and Huffington and Leive clearly lead high-powered, hectic lives of their own, I’m thinking they understand my reservations. But, Ariana and Cindi insist in their Sleep Challenge 2010 post that the health of us sleepy heads is at stake.
You probably already know about the health consequences of sleep deprivation, how cheating your body out of the R&R it needs can make you more prone to illness, stress, traffic accidents and even weight gain…
But there's more to it than simple physical problems. Rob yourself of sleep, ladies, and you'll find you never function at your personal best. Work decisions, relationship challenges, any life situation that requires you to know your own mind—they all require the judgment, problem-solving and creativity that only a rested brain is capable of and are all handled best when you bring to them the creativity and judgment that are enhanced by sleep. "Everything you do, you'll do better with a good night's sleep," says Dr. Breus. Yet women who constantly push themselves to get by on less never know what that "peak performance" feels like.
Okay, but forreal forreal? More sleep = peak performance? Like, I’ll be able to knock out MORE work during the course of the day if I get more sleep at night?
Yeah, I gotta see this.
Starting tonight, it’s going to be lights out for me at 11:30 p.m.—a full two hours before I go to sleep most nights. I’m vowing to make sleep a priority for the whole of February—28 days straight. No more blogging at midnight—damn FaceBook and Twitter and book proposals and columns and feature writing at 1 a.m. Laundry, hair-washing, coupon clipping—all of that will be done, somehow, during the day. If it doesn't get done before 11:30 p.m., it's not going to get done. I'll update my progress on FaceBook (friend me at Denene Millner if you want to see my progress or you want to take the challenge and tell me how you're faring).
Shoot, if Meera, Ariana and Cindi are on the money, I might be able to knock out at least two more books by Feb. 28, what with all this extra productivity I’ll be gaining in the process.