by Irwin Lengel
My mind drifts to the remarks my wife makes when she knows that I had only slept a few hours the night before. She worries about me in that she feels that I do not get enough sleep. So, before we go much further, allow me to provide two separate definitions of sleep:
The definition of sleep as described in the Free Merriam – Webster Dictionary reads: the natural periodic suspension of consciousness during which the powers of the body are restored.
Another definition as found on the Internet reads: a condition of body and mind such as that which typically recurs for several hours every night in which the nervous system is inactive.
A good night’s sleep for me is when I get between five and six hours sleep. But there is yet another reason I prefer to only sleep five or six hours. That is because I find – as I did when I was still working – that I can accomplish a lot more during the first two or three hours of a day than I seem to get done during the balance of the day, By arising early and getting to whatever tasks I have set down the day before.
There is something about the freshness of the morning and the quiet time I have with my own thoughts that make getting up early something I look forward to each and every day.
As mentioned in previous blog postings, I am by nature a list type of guy. Whether I prepare the list the night before or first thing in the morning, arising early enables me to get my thoughts together as to how I am going to go about my day and as such complete the many tasks I have set for myself.
According to a quote from Albert Einstein – “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” Starting one’s day early is one sure way to fit everything in that needs to be done or depending on the circumstances, should be done.
I am not sure of the exact date I began rising so early although I can think back to the days when both my wife and I arose at 4:30 AM so that we could get our exercises done before starting our day.
Even now though, since we are both retired, I find that life tends to appear so much simpler while sitting alone just enjoying that first cup of coffee while the whole world is quiet and still.
The wee hours of the morning allow me to contemplate how good my life has been and is still going without much stress.
Agreed – there are many rules of thumb out there as to how much sleep a body needs to be functional. Early to bed – early to rise. Make sure you get at least eight hours of sleep a night. Follow a regular routine. And so forth and so on.
But for myself, personally, in my humble opinion, my biological clock tells me when to wake up and it is usually due to one of the two reasons I mentioned.
Either I feel refreshed and ready to go or my arthritis causes my bones to ache and hence, getting up and moving allows me to function without the crippling effects arthritis can devastate on one’s body.
What it all boils down to is the fact that each and every one of us are different. I would not expect a person, that is, say fifty pounds heavier than I, to follow the same routine I do when it comes to sleeping habits or exercise, eating or what have you. We all have to find what works. Just as we all have to find our own means of enjoyment during our retirement years.
Just as many of us also have different tastes when it comes to eating, sports or what have you, each of us must find the proper allotment of time for sleep to function at our best.
First thing to do would be to listen to one’s own biological clock. If you are sitting watching TV and falling asleep during your favorite show in the evening – get up and go to bed, it means you are tired. Another way to look at it is if you want to awaken at a certain time in the morning- get up when the alarm goes off. Do not hit that snooze button. One way to address this would be to place the alarm clock out of arm’s reach so that you have to get out of bed to turn it off.
For me, at times I tend to feel like Wade Garrett (Sam Elliott) did in the movie Road House when he said and I quote “I’ll get all the sleep I need when I’m dead.”