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What if there was a product guaranteed to make you feel better, look better, be healthier, help your brain function better, improve your emotional well-being, increase your productivity and arguably improve your relationships and finances? How much would you pay for this product? What if I told you it was free?

The “product” is sleep. Unless we have insomnia (which I have had), most of us have access to this superpower, but how many of us get enough of it?

Recently, I was on vacation. I went to go visit my mom for a week by myself (yes, no kids). Everyday for a week, I slept a glorious 8-9 hours a day.

How did I feel?

Indescribably wonderful. I was astounded at how good I felt emotionally, spiritually and physically.

After a week of sleeping blissfully, I returned and was rudely awakened to a lack of sleep.

When I got back it was the day before my son’s birthday and party. Great planning, right?

Due to a delay, I arrived home at 3:30am and woke up at 6am to get my kids off to school. I then proceeded to run around town looking for Minecraft decorations for his party. Apparently, Minecraft decorations are only available online (cue Psycho soundtrack).

With 2.5 hours of sleep, how was my emotional regulation?

I found myself chastising the cashier at Party City for not carrying Minecraft party supplies. Didn’t they know what a cultural phenomenon Minecraft was? How could they call themselves a legitimate business without carrying Minecraft products?

With 2.5 hours of sleep, how were my decision making powers? I craved carbs and fat. I needed a breakfast sandwich desperately. Was it in the budget? Not sure. Good for my waistline? Didn’t care. Heck, why not throw in a bag of chips with that?

I managed to take a short nap before I picked up the kids, but was still exhausted. Was I emotionally available when I picked up my kids? Not so much. Was I ready to connect with my husband after a week of not seeing him? My strategy was to keep silent as possible, so I wouldn’t blurt out something I’d regret later. All I could think about was how to get through the evening so I could get sleep.

After telling my husband he was responsible for the cake, I crashed.

This led me to wonder.

How many of us experience fatigue and exhaustion on a daily basis, when we don’t have to?

Why don’t I get enough sleep? How much kinder and more patient would I be to those around me if I got enough sleep? How much better would I function? Why do I deprive myself of this magnificent blessing?

The only thing I could think of was…FEAR

Fear I won’t get enough done, fear I will miss out on the nugget in the parenting book that will define my relationship with my kids, fear I won’t get enough work done to move my business forward, fear I will wake up to a mountain of dirty dishes, fear I won’t have the homemade, organic lunch my kids will need to succeed at school.

Parkinson’s law is the adage that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

I believe if it’s meant to be it will get done. I need to trust God and the journey. I can’t destroy myself in the process. Life is lived in little tender moments. If I’m too tired to be present I’ll miss those moments.

I will talk in my next post about how to get more sleep.

How does sleep/lack of sleep affect your life?