Sleep Shame

2b2a96bf5cdbfb997064db142d47d7b5Tired is the new black. It’s fashionable and everyone seems to be wearing it. To be tired is a measurement of success. It means you’re busy doing something and the busier you are the better you must be. Sleeping is apparently now reserved solely for the slothful. Basically, if you’re sleeping you’re a loser.

Doubt me? Try this fun game – interject into your next conversation that you got eight hours of sleep last night. Two things will happen: 1) You will get a variety of looks from pity to disgust and 2) People will immediately start sharing their lack of sleep tally, as in “Wow, I think the last time I slept eight hours I was in elementary school” or “Are you kidding me? I don’t think I’ve slept eight hours total this entire month.”

And if tired is the new black than insomnia is its perfect accessory. If social media and the school drop off-line are to be believed everyone is now suffering from insomnia. We’re all a bunch of colicky infants that can’t sleep through the night and just like we track the hours spent exercising on our Fitbit we’re now keeping sleeping journals.

As with any hot fashion trend that’s aimed primarily at adults it sooner than later is seen as appropriate for children. Just ask anyone who works with your kids. Now, along with their iPhone 5s you can find most children in the burbs working a terminal case of tired. We have 11 year olds walking into middle school every morning clutching their Starbucks venti coffee frappuccino.

I was at a sports competition over the weekend and eavesdropping (it’s my gift) on parents complaining to coaches about their children’s performance. As is usually the way of a lot of hyper competitive parents their complaining was directed more at what the coach was “doing wrong” and not on how their kids could improve. The one thing I heard over and over again from the coaches is that the kids were tired. Not tired from running or jumping but from not getting enough sleep. This stumped the parents like somehow sleep was not a must have but a maybe. One coach tried to explain, with what I thought was the skill of a Roman orator, that sleep was fuel for the brain and body. The parent listened half heartedly and then had a counter argument that their kid was drinking Red Bull so wasn’t that “taking care of the problem.” The energy drink as a sleep replacement tool has gotten so out of hand my daughter’s school just had an assembly on the topic.

When did sleep became a dirty word? I know the argument is that we’re all over programmed – adults and children alike. But are we? Where is it written in stone that you or your child or you has to do everything. I have a theory (one of many – it’s my other gift) that all this adolescent girl drama, that is currently topic number 1 for any mother with a girl over age 10, is primarily because our daughters are exhausted. They’re plain old worn out and just like when an infant or toddler misses a nap and has a meltdown in the check out line at Target our daughters are now having super sized tantrums fueled by estrogen surges and sleep deprivation.

Think of all the problems that could be solved, the serenity that would blossom and wrap around us like the most comfy of blankets if we could all lay our heads down on a pillow of “I’ve done enough today” and embrace sleep without shame.

***For all things wonderfully Snarky go to where you can find the new winter Snarky line of clothing and accessories. (Flannel Snarky P.J.’s anyone?) Plus, there’s my book – Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. (Click here for purchase information.)
 Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.  If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you. To stay up-to-date on new posts and take part in my not so deep thoughts click on this Facebook link – (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.

9 thoughts on “Sleep Shame

  1. R.R. says:

    I found out the hard way to never tell a group of moms you routinely get 7 hours of sleep a night. They got pissed off at me and one accused me of lying!

  2. Teacher says:

    I’m a middle school teacher and one of the biggest educational problems I see is tired children. Go to bed people!

  3. suburbanprincessteacher says:

    Totally! Kids are exhausted. TV’s in their rooms, phones under their pillows, computers going all night. I love my sleep – 8 hours is normal…I love a good 12 hour sleep. People often look at me funny but that’s OK. I get that a lot.

  4. Pearl ;) says:

    I love my sleep and I find no shame in being in bed by 9, asleep before 10. My alarm is set so that I have time to slice the apples, and finish lunches. I let my kids sleep until the latest possible minute. We celebrate sleep and naps at our house. We invest in beautiful blankets and soft, down pillows. Call us sleep snobs, but, sleeping is our sport, at times, and we have all the gear. Forget drinks and pills, get your Zzzzzzzzs.

  5. Kelly says:

    Sleep is the most important health predictor. Mental and physical health. As soon as anyone in our house is grumpy, impatient, or irritable “how did you sleep last night” is my question. Especially with teens, they need the extra sleep when they can get it. With our 5th baby at 10 months old, I don’t get the best sleep, but its always a priority for us and our kids. I certainly know my mood suffers when I have several days of poor sleep. For me, not really anything can be done till baby starts sleeping through the night.

  6. Laurel Isaak says:

    I think part of the problem is that kids activities go too late. For instance, my son had a baseball game that didn’t end until 9:30. Well, it’s hard to just come home and immediately start in on that sleep because now you’re kind of keyed up. So the sleep doesn’t start until like 11 – WAY TOO LATE! There should be some kind of law that kids can’t be kept out past 8 on a school night – parents either!

  7. margostoppelbein says:

    Tell me about it! I’m sleeping for the first time IN MY LIFE. Yet, when I tell someone that, it’s like I told them that I bought my own ice cream machine and I’m enthusiastically eating ice cream three times a day. LIke, it’s some kind of stupid luxury. Now that I’m sleeping, I realize how close to homicide I really was. Sleep: It’s a good thing.

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