Midwestern Wanderlog

2016-01-24 – Go to sleep

7:38:22 AM 6.0 seconds at f/22 on ISO 100

7:38:22 AM
6.0 seconds at f/22 on ISO 100

It’s typical.  Even habitual.  When we start to feel the pressure of needing to finish a particular task for which there is little to no time in our regular schedule, we sacrifice part of our nightly slumber to get it done.  And then we feel tired, cranky, but somehow justified and extremely adult, because we gave up something we wanted in order to achieve something else – for work, for home, for friends, for family, doesn’t really matter.

Trouble is, that response is actually backwards.  Fatigue not only slows your reaction time (leading to an increased number of traffic accidents and work-related injuries), it impairs your ability to learn and mentally process.  _MG_5362That’s right; when your parents told you that you needed a good night’s sleep in order to do well in school, they weren’t blowing smoke.  Being well-rested leads to increased productivity, greater efficiency, creative innovation, and less stress.  Ask yourself:  That so-important project that you absolutely had to sacrifice a couple-three hours of your dreamland time for – how much better a job could you have done, in how much more effective a fashion, if you had been fully refreshed, alert, and energized?

Lack of sleep can lead to health problems, too, like weight gain and an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease or stroke.

Why is it the topic of this morning?

Speeding locomotive on the tracks below - love me some trains!

Speeding locomotive on the tracks below – love me some trains!

Because shorting myself on sleep is a tough habit to break, same way as it is for almost everyone else, and sooner or later it’s going to lead to me sleeping right through the alarm as my body declares ENOUGH, which means I’ll lose a sunrise.  So I have to ask in the silence of my own head:  What is it I am addicted to feeling by sacrificing those precious hours?  Because make no mistake, the habit is a peptide addiction in your brain, which is why – despite knowing what you’re doing to yourself – you still can’t help but do it anyway until you replace it with another (and hopefully better) habit.

I’ve come to the conclusion that in my head, doing more and doing better have been equated somehow.  What I want is to grow, to improve… to do better.  But all I actually do is load up my schedule with more than I can possibly get done and end up feeling by turns elated at how much I’m ‘accomplishing’ (ofttimes reducing the quality of my work to get it all done) and depressed because I just can’t finish anything I start over the course of the day.

Time to pause, reflect, and focus on doing better instead of doing more.

Panoramic 024

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