A Good Night’s Sleep Isn’t a Luxury; It’s a Necessity
In my younger years, I regarded sleep as a necessary evil, nature’s way of thwarting my desire to cram as many activities into a 24-hour day as possible. I frequently flew the red-eye from California, for instance, sailing (or so I thought) through the next day on less than four hours of uncomfortable sleep.
But my neglect was costing me in ways that I did not fully appreciate. My husband called our nights at the ballet and theater “Jane’s most expensive naps.” Eventually we relinquished our subscriptions. Driving, too, was dicey: twice I fell asleep at the wheel, narrowly avoiding disaster. I realize now that I was living in a state of chronic sleep deprivation.
I don’t want to nod off during cultural events, and I no longer have my husband to spell me at the wheel. I also don’t want to compromise my ability to think and react. As research cited recently in this newspaper’s magazine found, “The sleep-deprived among us are lousy judges of our own sleep needs. We are not nearly as sharp as we think we are.”