Thursday, March 16, 2017

I'll let you know

Sleep is something we can’t do without but how much we need varies from person to person. It also depends on whether we’re talking about short-term or long-term because all of us can burn the midnight oil when it’s necessary.  My “world record” is being up about 36 hours one time long ago when I had a serious work deadline.

I don’t know about you but I grew up learning that everyone needed eight hours of sleep a night, just like I also learned I was supposed to drink eight glasses of water a day.  I’m not sure where these eight mandates came from.  Perhaps they were invented by the same person who coined the popular pool hall announcement of “eight ball in the corner pocket.”

Some people need more than eight hours of sleep a night and they get it.  We all know at least one sleepy-head person.  He or she may be a sibling, or someone we once knew long ago.

Chances are we also know someone who gets by on far less sleep, someone who is legendary of regularly burning their candle from both ends.

I found myself wondering a time or two about the sleep practices of then Presidential-candidate Donald Trump during last year’s election.  He had a very hectic campaign schedule every day that took him to several cities across the country.  No matter how far he was from home, he still managed to return each day, sometimes I’m sure not until the wee hours of the following morning.  He would rinse, repeat and do it again the next day and then the next day, over and over.

My curiosity was tamed when he once shared that he averages four to five hours of sleep a night. 

Someone less popular in the secular world, the late Mother Teresa of Calcutta (now Saint Teresa of Calcutta) also averaged the same amount of sleep each night.  She was a Missionaries of Charity nun who spent most of her life serving the poorest of the poor surviving on the streets in the worst slums of Calcutta.  Even at an advanced age, when most of us would be sitting in a rocking chair preparing for a midday nap, Mother Teresa was out and about tending to the abandoned, hungry and poorest of the poor.  No matter how long her day was and regardless of how late she got to bed, she’d be up at 4:00 a.m. to begin another day.

While nowhere near the stature of either President Trump or St. Teresa of Calcutta, I find myself having something in common with them lately in that I’ve been averaging four to five hours of sleep due to a very demanding work schedule.  It’ll be this way for another month.

So, how long can this middle-aged man last burning his midnight oil and getting only four to five hours of sleep a night, over and over?  

I'll let you know.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

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