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Do We Need More Sleep As We Get Older?

I can remember as a child, peeking in on my Grandmother who was visiting us. It was late afternoon and we were reminded to keep quiet because, “Grandma was taking a nap.”

My young mind couldn’t believe that any adult would actually waste time during the day by sleeping. So into the room I peeked.

Sure enough, there she was, lying on the bed, covered with a light blanket, and not pretending but actually sleeping. Snoring even.

It was so strange. So confusing. So babies took naps and so did old people? I quietly shut the door and ran off to play.

Now as I get older, I am realizing that my body’s sleep requirements have changed. In high school, I could pull all-night study sessions and still be productive for the next day’s test.

My ability to function on minimal sleep only grew stronger as I started college. Now I could manage both my school work and keep an active social life. I could literally stay up all night perfecting a paper, turn it into class the next day, sleep an hour or two between classes, then go to work before proceeding on to a house party.

Many nights I could buzz around with my partying friends until the early hours of the morning, fit in just a few hours of beauty sleep, and my young skin looked bright and rested, even when it wasn’t.

My life was school, work and being with friends. I didn’t need to sleep. I was young and energetic. I could easily survive on three to five hours of sleep on a regular basis.

I look back on that time now and realize how crazy I was.

Even in my early twenties, I was career-focused and continued to have a good time socially. Some nights I stayed late at work and got up bright and early to get a head start on the busy day ahead of me.

And as long as it didn’t interfere with my work, I had no problem dining, drinking and having fun until the wee hours of the morning. Those nights were less frequent than my college days but I still enjoyed going out.

Somewhere between get older and having a family, I started to get really tired. The best amount of sleep for my body is eight hours a night.

Do I get it? Not usually.

But do I try my hardest to get close? Absolutely. Every night. I need to.

Without enough sleep, physically, I suffer. I wake up with tired eyes and heavy dark bags under them.

I can no longer look like a fresh-faced girl ready to start her day. I look tired. No one wants to look tired.

If I don’t get enough sleep, I do not have the energy that I need to keep up with my boys or to have patience.

I have a big job everyday. I need to be at my best. My best is rested.

I don’t get afternoon naps but I would certainly love to have them now and then. I no longer think Grandma was crazy. I think she was onto something.

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