Sleep sweep


PHOTO COURTESY PIXELS

The return to work after an extended holiday break raises the inevitable question, “How was your vacation?” and though my Christmas celebrations usually consist of relaxed downtime with family, this year was especially sedate – almost comatose.

Post-op recovery coupled with an extended arctic cold snap left me with little reason to venture out of the house, let alone change out of my pyjamas. Having the grocery shopping all done, the Christmas gifts given and received, dry firewood, and a good supply of home baking and libations, we were prepped for any potential political or natural cataclysm.

My family members’ respective schedules throughout the week are complicated enough to ensure we remain appreciative of sleeping in on weekends and, if it’s been an especially bad week, some of us will even squeeze in an afternoon nap.

But this recent break had us essentially gorging on sleep in every possible iteration – from breakfasts consumed long after the noon hour and catnaps whenever the urge struck. It was awesome.

While I’ve always been told that lack of sleep is not cumulative, I beg to differ. I, personally, made up for at least six months of lousy sleep over the holiday period, usually with a snoring canine tucked in between hubby and me.

Up until having kids, I’ve always been really good at sleeping and trying to recapture those long sleep stretches of my youth has been a goal ever since. My definition of an ‘all-nighter’ varies greatly from that of my teenagers. I’ve come to accept that my sleep patterns have now devolved into what can more accurately be described as a series of naps.

Which at least puts me in the good company of people like Winston Churchill, Leonardo da Vinci, and Martha Stewart. Yup.

Feeling pretty smug about the amazing feat I accomplished over the holidays, an acquaintance recently burst my bubble of misconception by informing me she’d recently read that too much sleep is bad for you.

Deferring to the encyclopedia of the internet, I came across sites that confirm more than seven or eight hours a night can have detrimental effects.

Wait a minute… we’re constantly inundated with stories telling us that collectively, we are not getting enough sleep and there will be long-term health ramifications. Our 24/7 wired world of information coupled with increased demands on our time, not to mention the sleep issues that come with ageing anyways, are all supposed to be bad for us. Now I find out that sleeping more than seven to eight hours a night may result in cognitive impairment, higher risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Whoa. The list actually is much longer but I pretty much stopped reading at that point.

My dogs sleep at least 12 hours a day. Most cats I’ve ever had sleep about 27 hours a day. And we humans are supposed to keep it capped at seven or eight?

Wow.

Next thing you know, they’ll be telling us that too much wine is bad for you too.

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