Someone once asked me to define “extreme luxury.” My answer came quick and certain:
Going to sleep when you’re tired and waking up without an alarm. Now, that’s true luxury.
Having lived a life full of late nights and missed planes and small children and smaller dogs and international conference calls, I have maintained a tricky relationship with sleep.
Oh, sure, I learned how to dip into a twenty minute nap while on campaign planes. And I learned to sleep when the baby slept, even though there was work to be done.
I also learned that there is always work to be done.
Studies have shown that prioritizing sleep is the right way to go, because chronic sleep deprivation yields an enormous impact on the body and mind. Prolonged sleep deprivation, in fact, has the eerily similar effect of knocking back a few cocktails – your speech slurs, you get all wobbly and your reflexes are shot to hell.
Just no paper parasol as a souvenir.
Yet, somehow “getting by” on just a few hours of sleep has become a red badge of courage. As if only the weak need sleep. That if you’re really and truly Type A and worthy of victoriously standing astride the globe as a conqueror, you don’t need any stinkin’ sleep.
Only slackers need sleep.
Some folks point to the productive genius Thomas Edison who famously slept less than four hours a night and demanded the same relentless endurance from those who worked for him.
The last full measure of devotion when you’re doing something important, it seems, becomes sacrificing sleep in favor of productivity.
Which, naturally, makes the most extreme luxury that which flies in the face of such group think.
Such as sleeping when you’re tired and waking up when you’re good and ready.
I achieve this feat about once a month – often enough for me to realize it’s possible yet rare enough to feel like a true luxury.
That’s why it’s the perfect extravagance. Costs me nothing. Comes with no designer labels nor inscrutable instruction manuals.
Sleep is, I have realized, the gift I give myself as a reminder that my well-being matters. A lot.
And I feel like a million dollars after getting enough sleep. It never fails that the next day I feel fully equipped to take on the day and master it.
Those are the days when my motto is “Bring. It. On.”
So, if you’ve bought into the collective thought that those who sleep are lazy, unmotivated, loafing slackers, I invite you to try some extreme luxury – get some sleep.
For one night, put your alarm clock away. Keep your phone in the kitchen.
When you’re tired, go to bed.
And sleep until you wake up.
It’s a luxury that will utterly change your life.