Monday, June 16, 2008

The Sleep Cure*

Last evening, I switched on "60 Minutes" and found it pretty much devoted to one topic for the entire program instead of the usual three segments. If you didn't see it, you're probably thinking that it covered Iraq or the oil crisis or the mortgage meltdown or the Presidential candidates. Nope. Instead it covered something even more important.


That surprised me. Personally, I had my money on global warming. But as I watched the fabulous Lesley Stahl delve into the subject in her usual engaging manner, I became a true believer. We don't have a more essential function than getting our rest. Link here to read or watch segments of the broadcast, and I'm sure you'll agree. My takeaway? I don't know when exactly the polar ice caps will melt, but I do know that, if I don't get enough sleep, I'm screwed.

Given all of the sage advice I heard, you may guess what this ADDer did later that night. Go to bed early? Nah, that's too obvious and sane. Rather, I stayed up waaaay too late on the Internets, and got maybe 5 hours of sleep. I would have had less sleep but I didn't hear my alarm, which led me to oversleep. I got to work an hour late, something I haven't done in years.

The moral of the story is definitely do as I say, not as I do!

One of the most compelling parts of the "60 Minutes" broadcast came in a point that compared sleep-deprived brains to brains of folks with psychiatric disorders. When they took MRIs of the people and their respective brains, the brains of the sleep-deprived showed the same functional deficits as the brains of the folks with psychiatric disorders. In the "how does this affect you" category, if you take a brain saddled with ADD and deprive it from sleep, you've made things super-difficult for yourself.

Intellectually, I know all of that. But suppose it's after midnight and you're reading clicking around IMDB to read the filmographies of the entire cast of Oceans 11 AND you have ADD, your brain doesn't want to you hit the off switch on the computer. Maybe you'll let yourself pick one more actor, but then you find that you can't choose between Casey Affleck and Bernie Mac. You decide to pick Casey, which tempts you to click on Good Will Hunting, which tempts you to figure out who played the Harvard guy with the blond ponytail...

...which then brings you until 3:00AM. In a few hours, your kids will want breakfast and your employer wants you to work.

Even though I know that sleep is good for the ol' noggin, the thing that will actually pry me offline is much more superficial: my looks. If I get less that 6 hours of sleep, which unfortunately I often do on weekdays, I end up looking pasty with big dark circles under my eyes that take expensive concealer to somewhat cover up. I also retain lots of water in my belly when I don't get enough sleep, which makes getting dressed in the morning oh so much fun.

I'm going to try try try to get enough shuteye, at least tonight. I don't want to say that from hereon, I'm going to get ample sleep on a weeknight, because I know I'll get annoyed with myself if I slip up. I know that I'll be sharper at work and get less snippy with people. But really, if getting more sleep means I can spend my concealer budget at Sephora on lipstick instead, then that's an even better perk.

*Not to be confused with the sleep cure in "The Valley of The Dolls," which, by the way, is the best trashy novel ever written.


Exold said...

*Three times* in the past week I've looked out the window to realize -- with great surprise -- that the sky was getting light. The funniest time was when I thought to myself, "OK, I'm doing good. For *once* I'm not going to be up until dawn!" With a sudden sense of the potential irony in the moment, I looked outside, and sure enough, the sky was brightening. *SIGH*. I don't know why I bother to wear a watch, it's not like I ever remember to look at it....

ADD Libber said...

Too funny, Exold! I know exactly what you're talking about. In fact, as the light of dawn seeped through the windows, I've also had illogical revelations that the fact that I was up would give me a head start on the day. Never mind the fact that staying up all night rendered me zombie-like!