“When I woke up this morning my girlfriend asked me, ‘Did you sleep good?’ I said ‘No, I made a few mistakes.”
US comedian and actor (1955 – )
How much sleep does the average person need? Some need more than others. Some seem to get by with none. Some nights it feels like you need more than you did the night before. Most of us run through our days with a sleep deficit. Hopefully we catch that up on weekends or when we can. I spend most of my days trying to cram in as much as possible. There’s usually one more thing that needs to be done, and I don’t really know how to sit still and do nothing. Once I sit down for the evening, I usually fall asleep in the chair.
My Dad always slept in the evenings in his recliner. He’d have dinner, watch the news and then out he’d go. He got up around 10:00 p.m., shaved, had bedtime snack (cake/pie and coffee), and then he went to bed. He was usually up around 5:00 a.m. every morning. He got ready early and then sat in the recliner and read a paperback novel while I got ready for school. When I was ready, he’d drive me to a girlfriend’s house and drop me off on his way to work. The girlfriend’s Mom drove us to school an hour or so later.
I used to think my Dad had the weirdest schedule imaginable. Why would anyone sleep, get up and get ready for bed, sleep, get up so early and then just sit around and read? Sad to say, my schedule these days is almost identical to what his was. I watch a little TV in the evenings once all chores and homework are done. If I am tired enough, I fall asleep in the recliner (just like he did). I get up at some point, get ready for bed and go to bed. I, too, get up at 5:00-something. I try to do most of my chores in the morning (clean the bird cages, make lunches, scoop cat boxes, start laundry, sometimes exercise, and work on homework). I very rarely sit and read a novel – I do chores instead.
I have a reason for not wanting to go to bed most nights. After 20-some years of sleeping with someone, I had to adjust to sleeping alone again most nights when Eric went out onto the road full-time. He’s only home 34 hours on the weekends so at most we get two nights together – it’s usually only one. When I was single, I’d sleep dead-center in the middle of a double bed. Now even when Eric is not there, I still sleep on my side of the bed. If the cats are behaving and getting along, some nights I am the cream in the middle of a cat sandwich. That only works if the cats are tolerating each other. If they are not, I spend most of the night playing referee.
I have found that the older I get the more I appreciate uninterrupted sleep. That is why God gives babies to younger women. If I had to get up in the middle of the night to take care of a hungry baby, I’d probably give the bottle to the cat and shut the baby out in the hallway to keep it from waking me up again.