This month's UTNE Reader seems to be focused on rest - the article that caught my eye was titled, "Get Radical. Get Some Rest." It has become radical to get rest - to go to bed before midnight, to choose an evening in, to sleep until our bodies tell us to wake up without an alarm clock, crying child or scratching dog waking us. On the other hand, it has become, in the words of another author I cannot remember at the moment, a uniquely American "badge of honor" to work more - with a deep sigh, we brag about how much we work, about how little vacation we've had, about what we've accomplished on so little sleep and on what we haven't done because we've been so busy working.
When we're not busy working, I find that we're busy telling people about our work. After I read the piece that pointed out how we seem to equate working more hours with value, I started paying attention to my conversations and notice that I very regularly tell people about my work schedule - not the exact hours, but the number of hours and days and what I miss by working so much. And when I describe my recent vacation, much of it describes how busy we were. It's as though, even on my vacation, I had to be busy, running around, seeing everything. But my favorite part of the vacation, which I rarely describe to others, was spent lying in a hammock listening to the waves crashing on the beach and the faint strains of the various local musicians playing all around. Doing nothing, just resting.
So, I challenge myself and invite you to think about getting some rest. Because of the energetic cycles of our bodies, the hours of sleep we get before midnight are often more restful than those after midnight - that we often get our "second wind" after midnight is result of this - so try going to bed before midnight. Try going to bed at 10 or even 9pm. When possible, don't set an alarm and see when your body wakes you up naturally. And when you're tempted to put on your badge and brag about how much work you're doing, brag about how much sleep you got instead.