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the magic bullet of zzzzzzzz

Think about how much sleep you got last night. Was it in the 5-hour range?

Studies are finding that sleep (or lack thereof) is directly linked to the body’s inability to register a feeling of fullness as well as a direct link to insulin resistance. In one study, people who slept less than 7 hours a night were more likely to be obese than people who knocked back a solid 7 or more hours of pillow time.

I’ve always been a light sleeper, and unfortunately, for the last 16 years, I’ve been sleeping next to a human metronome. If he’s not rustling his feet in the blankets, he’s flipping to his left side, then on his back, then on his right side, then on his back, left side, pillow thrust, rustle rustle, back, right side, lather rinse repeat the cat wants attention oh my god please put a bullet in my head.

Ahem.

Then one day, my dentist commented for the umpteenth time about my smaller than normal mouth and I realized that it wasn’t a weird pick-up line, but in fact that he was suggesting I see a sleep disorder specialist. After two nights in a sleep lab, I was diagnosed with several sleep disorders. One of these is obstructive sleep apnea, which is pretty common for folks who are overweight and can be caused by a number of reasons; for instance, my weirdly tiny mouth. With sleep apnea, most of the time you stop breathing shortly after getting into those good quality levels of sleep (i.e. where the dreams live), so you wake up enough to start breathing again and then start all over again. It’s as satisfying as trying to eat Thanksgiving dinner through a straw.

At night, I now sleep hooked up to a breathing mask that keeps air flowing down my freakish fairy-sized gullet. I’m sorry, I keep reiterating this, but it’s the first time in my life that any problem has been blamed for my being too small. I even wear a size small sleep mask, which they normally only give to adolescents. Size small! Suck that, Posh Spice!

The interesting correlation to this is that I have so much more energy now. I actually find myself daydreaming about running, about lifting heavy things, about dancing for hours upon hours. After getting sleep that is a normal quality, I am amazed by how fucking tired I must have been before. What is more, I’ve noticed that I’m eating less and not craving sweets as much. Yesterday, I had a burrito for lunch and at 8:30 p.m., it occurred to me that not only had I skipped dinner but I really still wasn’t hungry. I am a little nervous about making the mental leap to miracle diet but seriously, is this why I have a fat ass? Because I spent the last 30 years of my life not getting enough of the right kind of sleep?

Most of what is understood about the human need for sleep has been discovered in the last 30 years, so imagine what else might be unlocked in the future? So much is riding on those hours when you’re horizontal, and yet, tell me again how many hours of sleep you got last night?

So this is my suggestion: tuck it in early tonight. The hours invested in getting the appropriate amount of sleep come back to you tenfold in levels of energy, mental sharpness and just general good mood. I can’t tell you how much more productive I am through the day now that I’m no longer fighting through the four hours in the afternoon when all I can think about is how much I would rather rest my head on my keyboard and take a nap. Slap a fucking S on my chest, because with my sleep snorkle, I feel like I could leap buildings with a single bound.

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