Thursday, March 5, 2009

The price of sleep

It's 8:30 p.m.

The kids are in bed. The dogs have been fed.

The kitchen is a mess.

The laundry in the dryer is still damp, and there's another load waiting in the washer.

Four loads of clean laundry are on the bed upstairs.

An idea for tomorrow's blog post is swimming around in my head, but remains unwritten.

Forty million other ideas for books or articles are swimming around in my head, but may forever remain unwritten.

A stack of newspapers awaits, needing to be sorted.

Same goes for a stack of mail that has been piling up all week.

And, as always, the ever-expanding pile of papers that need to be filed.

At least three bills need to be paid by tomorrow. Although, there may be more hiding in that pile of papers.

Then, it might be nice to have a bit of time to hang out with my husband. Or watch a TV show I recorded three weeks ago. Or eat sitting down. Or read. Or just relax and enjoy the rare and precious peace and quiet.

So many options. But if I'm hoping to get to bed by 10 p.m., that leaves just an hour and a half to divvy up. You and I both know that this hour and a half zips by rather quickly.

It seems most of us deal with this problem of Not Enough Hours in the Day.

Sleep, despite being both valuable and free, does involve a cost. The price of sleep is all of those other things you might do if you stayed up.

Some nights I decide to pay the price and skimp on sleep. Maybe I decide to have a long, uninterrupted phone conversation with a friend. Or I'm in the middle of a great book and I just don't want to put it down. Sometimes it's something as simple as this: I'm two episodes behind on Lost, and my husband has already made the popcorn.

And much as I hate to admit it, sometimes I stay up late to clean the house. Because I've noticed recently that I seem to be doing housework all day long, yet at the end of the day my home looks worse than when I started.

Sometimes, I just need to catch up a little, and the only way to make that happen is to pay with time taken from the eight hours I really ought to be fast asleep.

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