Oh, sweet, sweet, sleep.
Dr. Elaine Aron recommends that HSPs “spend 8-10 hours in bed each day, sleeping or not.” (source) I totally agree!
I love my sleep. “Getting enough sleep” is never a question for me. It is essential. I love feeling comfortable and clean and cozy in a fresh bed.
(Morning) People always say, “Your body will get used to waking up early. I can wake up without an alarm clock!” NOPE. I’ve been trying to “get used to” waking up early for a couple decades and it’s not happening. I think that’s one of my favorite things about working for myself–I can stay up late and wake up late, too.
On days when I don’t get at least 7 hours, it affects me hugely. I feel sleepy all day. I can’t power through or ignore it. The feeling is so strong–and I just want to sleep so badly that I can’t think about anything else. So, I’m highly sensitive to not getting enough sleep.
When I hear stats about how adults or schoolkids or whoever aren’t getting enough sleep, I don’t relate. I would find a way to get more sleep. No matter what. Somehow.
This is also why the idea of having kids terrifies me. I think the lack of sleep would seriously impair me. I’m not joking. It would be a serious matter that would leave me unfit to parent.
Here is an excerpt of a post from my travel blog back in 2013, including my most extreme example of REQUIRING sleep!
We had a 9 hour flight to Bangkok and I was not able to sleep at all. It was probably the most consistently turbulent flight I’ve ever experienced.
We arrive in Bangkok at around 6am and I’m bummed because I know that when I don’t get any sleep all night, I am ruined for the entire day. I must have my sleep or I’m just awful to be around and confused and dumb all day.
When we arrive at our guesthouse, they tell us we can’t check in until 2pm. I am epically disappointed.
That means we have 5 hours before we can check in. There is no way I am just going to hang out for 5 hours. I AM GETTING MY SLEEP ONE WAY OR THE OTHER!
Even though we’ve just arrived in a new country and Jim is ready to explore, the prospect of facing a hot, humid day on zero sleep is just…NO. I can’t do it. I cannot go an entire night and day without sleep. I would feel like I was suffering all day. (sound like I’m exaggerating? This is why I’m an HSP.) Jim goes along with my crazy whims because I’m probably already acting like a mental patient and he knows not to poke the bear.
We leave our heavy bags at the guesthouse and wander aimlessly in the streets of Bangkok. My goal is to find a really cheap hotel that will let us check in right there and then so I can sleep. My only requirement is air conditioning and a clean bed free of bedbugs and, if I’m being picky, roaches.
Finally, we walk into this grimy, very budget mom-and-pop place, and the old lady says we can get a room without TV for 650 baht, which is like $20. Jim tries to bargain but she doesn’t budge. We take it.
The room was very basic. I took a quick shower then went right to bed. When I woke up a few hours later, there was an ant crawling on me but it did not phase me for a second. Funny how you get used to things like that.
UPDATE: I wrote this post over two years ago and a lot has changed since then. I now struggle with insomnia and sleeping in strange places can sometimes be difficult for me. Sleep patterns can change throughout our lifetime. But the one thing that hasn’t changed for me is that I require a lot of sleep to feel good. When my insomnia was its worst, and I truly could NOT fall asleep at night, I didn’t even feel human the next day. I think other people can “suck it up” better than I can. When I am sleep deprived, I can’t think about anything else.