Sunday, January 9, 2011

Resolutions -> Sleepsongs: Go To Sleep

Sarah Harmer: Go To Sleep


I love this 2004 lullaby from Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah Harmer. But today it serves a stronger purpose, reminding me that of all the resolutions I've ever made regularly -from quitting smoking to spending more time with my children - the one that ultimately would make the biggest difference in my life would be going to sleep earlier.

Being naturally nocturnal runs in my family: I have strong childhood memories of my siblings, my father and I all drifting through the house like ghosts until the wee hours of the morning, when exhaustion finally overtook us. But my chosen vocation calls me to consciousness when the world is still dark, and the combination of those two elements - up late and up early - means that most nights, I get four or five hours of sleep, tops.

As a result, I often find myself struggling to stay awake in the afternoons, most dangerously and famously on my drive home each afternoon. Naps help, a bit, and I tend to crash on the couch a few days a week before supper, though it means being out of it for those few precious hours when I could otherwise be with my kids before their own bedtimes. But the fundamental problem remains: I'm a mess, in person, and I owe it all to sleeplessness.

I know that even an hour more a night would ease this process immensely. I know that I'm not my best self most of the time; know, too, that a lack of sleep strains the heart, shortening my lifespan. But try as I might, I can't get my butt off the couch and into bed until midnight or afterwards most nights. And each year, as I resolve to do better, I know in my heart of hearts that it's a losing proposition to promise myself that someday, I'm going to get it right.

Note the time on this post, folks. It's Saturday night, sure. But that's no excuse. I should be sleeping. And I probably could be, too, if I weren't so fatalistic, and so stubborn about it.

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