Last night I slept the sleep of the dead. This morning, too. Really, all day.
I was already nodding off in my chair after dinner. I barely made it through supervising kid bedtime activities. Then I was out again for fifteen hours of pure unconscious bliss until late in the morning, when I woke up, ate breakfast, and then promptly took a nap.
I’m not sick. I hadn’t worked out extra hard. I slept perfectly fine the night before. I just needed extra sleep.
No, not just needed. Wanted. Desired. Craved.
It was glorious. Pure luxury. 5 stars out of 5, would sleep that much again.
Something not enough parents explain to you as a non-parent or an expecting parent is how rare extra sleep will be for at least the next decade of your life.
Or, if they do tell you about it, they make it sound like it will be purely out of spite. The spite of a tiny rage-bomb of an infant who will never sleep. Also, the spite of your partner, who will never again be willing to cover for you for the morning so you can catch up on sleep.
And then you’re like, “of course they will, we both love to sleep in, they’ll never do me like that.”
Here’s the actual secret I’ve discovered, as someone with a kid who has always slept through the night and who has an amazing parenting tag team partner:
Parenting programs your brain to believe that sleeping extra means danger.
I’m not sure if it’s evolution at work or a result of our modern lives, but I find this is true even when my kid is many miles away on a camping trip with said parenting tag team partner, leaving me alone in the house to sleep to my heart’s content.
As a parent, oversleeping is always a scary prospect. It equals not checking on a diaper in time. Or a hungry kid trying to forage for their own breakfast. Or missing school dropoff. Or simply getting your kid up so late that their sleep schedule is ruined for days to come.
They’re all dangers external to your own well-being, so they’re an impossible alarm clock of anxiety to turn off. It’s not the same as hitting the snooze button as you tell yourself you don’t mind having to take the late bus to work. At some point, you stop being asleep because your brain is trained to spring into action.
Over the years we adapt. We affirm ourselves with statements like, “I’m a morning person now” and “I cannot imagine wasting that much of the day.” But the truth of the matter is if we want to sleep the sleep of the dead, usually it involves feeling like death rather than doing it just for the lazy weekend joy of it.
That’s why last night was so delightful. It was a random act of drowsiness. I couldn’t even tell you the last time I slept that long in a single sprint of unconsciousness apart from being ill. I didn’t have a single damn reason I needed all of that sleep and I got it anyway.
And I’d do it again. If my brain would let me.