For The Love Of Sleep

I meticulously unpack my laptop from my backpack, get my earphones ready and store away my belongings in the overhead locker. I am on the 6 am flight to Cape Town and if I tell you I am tired AF, it is an understatement. With only 2 hours of sleep and deadlines looming, I need to utilise this flight to the fullest.

I’ve gobbled down an Americano with a triple shot of espresso and I’m armed with a Red Bull (you can pass judgement later). I patiently wait for take-off.

Startled and feeling like I have been hit by the same plane I am flying in, I wake up, as the wheels hit the ground.

What the actual! I have just slept through the 2-hour flight, not even moving in my seat. To make matters worse, I slept on my neighbour’s shoulder and the poor boy was too embarrassed to wake me to move me. Drooling over his shoulder, and making who knows what sounds. I cringe as I grab my bag and stuff out of the overhead, and head for the exit as fast as my short legs can possibly carry me.

I have a headache from hell and realise that now my sleep is even more disturbed. The 2-hour “nap” did not refresh me, it actually killed me even more. I head to my meeting and when I finally get to our apartment at 5 pm I am completely shattered. Problem is, being overtired, means sleep now evades me, and I am wide awake until 2 am and again on the 6 am flight home.

I catch the red-eye home and soon realise why my husband has compared me to those people who you see in the park on benches; I can literally sleep anywhere. I am lights out before we take off and sleep until we land.

I pass out in the Uber on the way home, and again have a cat nap of two hours once home. Trying to catch up sleep is futile, leading me to troll the internet on why we need to nap.

I actually found some benefits to a cat nap or in my case a 2-hour snooze.

  • Improved mood
  • Boosts your memory
  • Improves your stamina
  • Improves your alertness
  • Boosts your immune system
  • Decreases your stress levels
  • It really does make you beautiful, it’s not called beauty sleep for nothing.

With this in mind, I have made a conscious decision to try and get 8 hours of sleep. To take a nap when I need to and to really go to bed when I’m tired and not wait until I am overtired. Because just like your 3-year-old toddler, I become like an adult version of that toddler. Completely unplayable. I become moody and miserable. Emotions become out of kilter and it is literally as if the world is going to end, but once I have napped, all is right in the world.

Do you get grumpy when you don’t sleep? Do you take cat naps?


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Adele Koolen
Adele Koolen

Health Editor

Adele Koolen studied BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy at Wits, practiced as a Physio for 15 years, and became one of the most sought-after Physios in the world sport arena. However, a hand injury in 2017 forced Adele to pursue alternative business ventures, resulting in her becoming a successful businesswoman and philanthropist. She is currently a Social Media Manager for a design company in Johannesburg, the founder of the #IAmEnoughZA campaign and the reigning Mrs SA Charity.

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