How’d you sleep last night?
Did you have one too many bourbons and were more unconscious, rather than sleeping deeply and peacefully?
Or did you go through your regular bedtime routine and sleep like a champion?
I’m not gonna lie.
I had two adult-sized highballs of bourbon last night, stayed up too late and then didn’t sleep very well.
(If you can relate, this is where you’d hear a foghorn in your noggin’.)
Totally worth it.
All of the experts tell us that getting a solid night of good, deep, REM sleep, each and every night, is just as important as eating well and exercising.
Easy to say.
Sometimes, not so easy to do.
You’ve got stuff going on in your life; Work, relationships, kids or grand kids, finances, retirement planning, the current state of what’s happening in the country and worldwide.
Maybe somebody hacked your blog site a couple weeks ago, and you find yourself constantly going over your new security protocols…
(Yeah, I’m still a little fixated on that ridiculousness.)
The list of stuff that stresses us out is looooooooong.
Some of it is rational.
Some of it just bugs us, and there’s absolutely ZILCH-O that we can do about it, but it still stresses us out.
Turning it all off and hitting the sheets isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to do.
About 616 million years ago, I was an Over-The-Road truck driver, constantly on the move, nationwide.
One my best friends lived in Houston, TX.
“Well, that was an unexpected segue,” you may be thinking to yourself. “What’s this got to do with why good sleep is important?”
Hang on, sleepy heads.
Don’t hit the snooze button just yet.
I was driving through Houston and stopped and picked up my friend, Wendee, and we were truckin’ our asses off, headed to El Paso, TX.
Wendee was an “unauthorized passenger,” so it was important that no one that worked for my trucking company knew I had her with me.
We arrived in El Paso, dropped the trailer I was hooked to and headed to the truckstop to eat, hang out and sleep, while waiting for a load for me to pick up.
My truck had a double sleeper. Wendee had the top bunk, and I was on the bottom bunk.
We were like kids at summer camp.
We stayed up every night, each lying in our own bunks, telling stories and laughing and giggling like little girls.
The plan was to pick up my next load and head back across Texas to drop off Wendee in Houston.
Easy enough, right?
We were in El Paso for three days, eating Tex-mex food, drinking margaritas and doing tequila shots — trying to not get ourselves killed by the locals.
By the third day, we were exhausted from all of our partying, and Wendee complained every night about how uncomfortable the top bunk was.
I told her the bottom bunk was no better, and she learned, firsthand, how difficult it was to get a sound night of sleep in an idling truck at a noisy truck stop.
It was my dear friend, Wendee, who harped about how getting enough sleep and getting good sleep is important.
On the fourth morning, my dispatcher (who I had named “Useless,” long before this little adventure), assigned me to a load headed somewhere in Bakersfield, which meant I couldn’t drive Wendee back to Houston.
I balked at Useless, and told her to find me something headed to Louisiana or even Atlanta, but Useless was adamant that this particular load had to get to Bakersfield ASAP, and I was driving the only available truck that was in El Paso.
Two things happened on that fourth day:
1. Wendee took her first (and only) Greyhound bus trip, across Texas, back to Houston. (I still don’t think she’s completely forgiven me for this!)
2. I headed for Bakersfield completely exhausted, which was now normal for me.
The next time I took some time off and got back to my apartment in Northern Wisconsin, I found a large package waiting for me from Bed, Bath & Beyond.
Inside the huge box was down mattress topper and a down comforter with a note that said:
“Creating a good sleep environment for yourself is important, especially with what you do for a living. Sleep well, my friend.
Good sleep is important.
From that point forward, I slept like a champ no matter where I was, thanks to my lovely friend.
And when I got to Iraq and was spending weeks at a time Outside The Wire in an armored truck, I received another huge box from Wendee with the same two items.
Sleeping well in that environment wasn’t an easy accomplishment, but with Wendee’s help, I’m relatively confident that I slept better than most of the folks there.
There are million articles online telling you how to unwind before bed and how to help yourself get some solid, good sleep.
It is important.
I just wanted to tell you about what a good woman Wendee is.
And how she made a lifelong impact — on this very topic — on me.
If you have the ability to help someone sleep better, do it.
I promise you, they will never forget what you did for them.