Tame Your Sleep-Deprived Zombie Look

Michelle really needs some sleep I thought as she walked into the office carrying a jumbo Starbucks with rumpled hair and mismatched shoes.

“Another bad night?” I asked.

“Yes,” she replied with a sheepish grin. “This cold season isn’t helping. We had one of the three kids up practically every hour on the hour.”

“Will you be okay?”

“This will keep me going,” she replied, lifting her coffee mug. “Besides, my mission is to show how productive zombies can be in real life.” Off she scrambled toward her desk.

New parents aren’t the only ones who are sleep deprived zombies driving cars, working in offices or at home and putting in hectic weeks juggling and integrating life with work. And as we approach the Holiday season, we tend to cram a load of extra things into our schedules, short changing those precious sleep hours even more.

I wondered if catching up on weekends was an option – those luxurious ‘sleep-in Sundays’. According to research, this strategy is only partially successful.(1) What is needed is  two nights of recovery sleep. However, I was delighted to learn that a combination of naps and overnight restorative sleep can be effective in counteracting some negative effects of sleep deprivation.

And I chuckled when I read Urban Dictionary’s Sunday Sleep-In Rule:

The law that proclaims that all people are forbidden from sleeping in past 9:00 AM on a Sunday. Despite the fact that people often stay up very late on Saturday, they are not to sleep in on Sunday to catch up on their rest. The reason for this is if one sleeps until 1:00 PM on Sunday they will likely not be able to fall asleep until a minimum of 12-14 hours later – meaning that they will then be very overtired for an early Monday morning of work.

Yeah, that worked when I was in my 20’s and I could actually sleep until 1:00 pm. Alas, not any more. Sleeping in is 9 o’clock at best, no matter what time my head hits the pillow.

Truthfully, there is only one thing to do. I pull out my Holiday ‘Want To-Do List’ and trim it here and there to make room for that one magical day each week when I can catch up on sleep. Is it nap-time yet?

sunday well spent

(1) Psychology Today Nov 5 2013

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