Yes, Andy, we do sleep about a third of our lives away.

And I agree, it would be nice to have a gauge on us to let
us know when we need to get some shut eye or when we’ve had enough, much like a
battery light that comes on to tell
us it’s time to charge a certain device for optimal use. Green means go. Red
mean stop.

Earlier this month when Andy Rooney gave his
classic spiel during the last segment of 60 Minutes,
he talked about sleep. He doesn’t quite understand why so many people have
problems with sleep, especially since he “can sleep night or day, sitting,
standing, or lying down” and he admits to falling asleep right at his desk or
on a bus going across town. He can get along on 7 hours, and thinks that anyone
who gets 9 hours or more is sleeping his or her life away.

Andy’s quips were no doubt enjoyed by many. But a few big
topics Andy failed to cover, though, are sleep’s impact on:

  • Overall health
  • Memory, and
  • Ability to get things done (ahem, like work into
    nineties and have the energy to go on television on a weekly basis).

But what about that “device” to tell us when we’ve had the
perfect amount of sleep? Might I suggest:

  • Signs of
    your battery is getting low
    : fatigue, sleepiness, low energy, need for caffeine,
    moodiness, inability to focus, difficult concentrating
  • Signs of
    your battery has been charged properly
    : feeling refreshed when you wake up,
    having the energy to get through your day, not needing caffeine to stay awake,
    alert, and productive

Put simply: the body tells us when we need sleep. It’s the “y” effect. When we’re hungry, we eat, when we’re thirsty, we drink, and when we’re
sleepy we sleep. Or should at
least. And I sense that Mr. Rooney knows that, alongside the other secrets
to sound sleep. How else can he be so vibrant, focused, and productive at
ninety years old?

Sweet Dreams,

Michael J. Breus, PhD
The Sleep Doctor™

Click here to see Dr. Breus's list of recommended sleep products.