Short Sleeper

January 7, 2016
I am sitting writing this blog at 5 o’clock in the morning, the latest I have woken up any day this week. I set an alarm every day (weekends included) to ensure that I am up by — what I define as — a decent hour, but I rarely sleep until it goes off. I used to average about 4 hours of sleep per night, but as I drift toward 60 years old, my amount of sleep has drifted closer to 5 hours per night. This still puts me in a group that Wall Street Journal columnist Melinda Beck termed “the sleepless elite.” This group, which is estimated to make up about 1 to 3 percent of the population, operates well on less than 6 hours of sleep per night. I’m often asked how I get so much done in a day. I usually attribute it to not watching TV often (two to three hours per week, plus Packer games), or silently flatter myself with an inflated view of my time management skills. But as it turns out, I really do have more hours in the day than many people. The ability to sleep less than the “average American” is a gift, not a skill. I am thankful for this gift and the fact that it allows me to be productive for an additional two to three hours per day that many, if not most, are not able to do. Since reading an article about what are also known as “short sleepers,” I’ve been thinking about the results of being able to sleep less than others and I realized what it is: hobbies. I tend to use the “extra” time to read, write or practice music — all of which enhance my quality of life. The article lists several attributes of short sleepers, including: Optimistic. I hope this is true. I try. Wake up early on weekends and vacations. Absolutely. Have a family member who is a short sleeper. Absolutely not! My family LOVES to sleep. Physically active. Walking, mostly. But I do it every day. Groggy if they sleep too long. Very! If I sleep for seven hours, I wake up tired. Avoid caffeine. Yes. I’ve never had a cup of coffee and haven’t drunk soda in two to three years. Anyway, I found the article enlightening and thought you might enjoy it. And, by the way, Beck didn’t mention naps but, if my schedule allows, I will take 20-minute afternoon naps two to three times per week. Always a treat! To read the full article, click here.