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Sleep Deprived

October 8, 2015 | by Emuna Braverman

What do you focus on when you wake up in the morning: blessing or lack?

I was reading the book, “Daring Greatly” by Brené Brown recently. She points out that we frequently begin our days with a sense of lack instead of a sense of gratitude.

“I didn’t get enough sleep.” The truth is that, as I write, I’m busy watching my new granddaughter (thank God) who was up all night crying (as all new parents know, this is not a figure of speech!) so I can honestly say that I got very little sleep last night.

But why should I begin my day with that focus? I could also start with the recognition of how beautiful she is and how blessed I am. (Or with the reminder that I’m leaving soon and will be able to resume my regular sleep patterns!)

But I’m not going to list all the positive ways we could start our days. We’ve all made lists of our blessings. We all know how to count them. We all understand that we have so much good. We all recognize that, in the very act of waking up, we say “thank You” to the Almighty for restoring our soul and giving us the opportunity of another day.

But we all know we lose our focus so easily. The default position is always “I didn’t get enough”. It’s not always about sleep although that it is a common one and what’s particularly striking about it is that it begins first thing in the morning!

Yes, it’s true that it’s healthier to get a certain amount of sleep per night. But it’s also true (as my husband’s grandmother used to say) that there’s no point in complaining about the things we can’t change.

And it’s true – with sleep or anything else – that when we focus on the lack it becomes worse. We feel more tired and more deprived.

If we expect a certain amount of sleep and don’t get it, we add “resentful” to the list.

And yet, if we just accept that sometimes (always) we’ll be tired, that sometimes we won’t get as much sleep as we would like, then we can cope better. We weren’t “supposed” to get something we didn’t.

I always thought that “sleeping like a baby” was a funny expression. Babies wake up constantly. If we want to describe sound, uninterrupted, deep sleep we should say “sleeping like a teenager”. And we should recognize that’s probably the only time in our lives that was available to us.

We need to let it go and move on. We didn’t get a lot of sleep but we got “enough”, enough for today. And, instead of thinking about what we didn’t get, let’s refocus on what we did.

Among the list of things to be grateful for, we can add coffee, caffeinated soda, and ear plugs.

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