sleeping woman

The Gratitude Project, A Millennial’s Quest to Find Happiness: Day 7 – Sleep

sleeping woman

Sleeping woman (not me) photo via Shutterstock

By Maria Russo

Day 7 – I am grateful for sleep.

I love to nap. Only I haven’t participated in this cozy afternoon activity in years. I don’t know when my body decided to give up the beautiful privilege of turning off the world, if only for a couple hours, and drifting into a warm dreamy sleep, but I miss it and I am writing this installment out of gratitude in hopes that the Gods of Napping will bestow their powers on me the next time I cuddle up to recharge during the 3p.m. slump.

Ahh sleep…

Is there anything quite like slipping onto cool, silky sheets, sinking into the abyss of a pillowy mattress, and escaping into the slumber of a paralyzing sleep? My husband can fall into this kind of deep, perfect sleep as soon as his head makes contact with his pillow. I watch as his eyes close, his breathing slows and his body relaxes into a blob of Jello. I stare with jealousy as my brain continues to flip through its Rolodex of the day’s events. My body begs for respite as my mind slips on her glasses, grabs a cup of high-test coffee, kicks her legs up and starts to crank out an endless stream of thoughts. I toss and turn, practice mediation techniques, pray to God, count sheep and use the dog as a comforting stuffed animal, but nothing works. Ms. Mind has just ordered a double shot of espresso and I at her mercy, go another night with minimal sleep.

Lately I’ve taken up drinking. I never used to drink, not because I don’t enjoy it but because I have sensitivities to sugar (I know, I cry for me too).  It wasn’t until hubby and I were out with friends — good friends who understand the importance of drinking — did I learn that rum, vodka, gin and whiskey contain no sugar. So my new favorite thing to do before bed is to imbibe a glass of rum, cinnamon and coconut milk.  This delicious concoction is the perfect elixir for sleep, when of course there are no other distractions like crazy ass thunderstorms, incessant crying from the neighbor’s adorable one-year-old or the sound of your mind scratching her fingernails along the chalkboard you insisted was erased when you were enjoying a delicious glass of rum.


There are those incredible nights when the stars align and Ms. Mind goes on vacation and I fall asleep almost as soon as I tuck the blankets in between my knees. I savor these nights like they are pieces of decadent dark chocolate or glasses of smooth wine. The satisfaction of a long eight-hour sleep is as good as any act of pleasure and for me, may be better than most.

It’s amazing what a lack of sleep does to your body. About six months ago, I was literally going weeks without a sound night of rest. Puffy bags filled with bluish purple pools of blood gathered under my eyes and my mood was always less than stellar. Cognitively, I would loose thoughts almost as soon as they entered my mind and when I wrote I found myself switching words around or skipping important phrases all together. I probably shouldn’t have been driving, but if everyone that was sleep deprived didn’t drive to work, half the country would be home on sick leave.

When I am well rested, life is rose-colored and brimming with possibilities. I wake up feeling like the day is a gift, one that is all sparkly and shiny and possess the power to make something magical happen. I feel clear-headed, energized and light. I am ready to exercise, write, edit, cook and even answer all the emails that have accumulated on days when I am just to tired to write back. Best of all, I am more willing to have fun; I don’t worry as much and I don’t mind staying up late to marathon watch Game of Thrones.

So Dear Gods of Napping I am forever grateful to your kisses and spells that help me recharge maybe for only a couple hours in the afternoon or for a full night’s rest. I am grateful for my pillowy bed and silky sheets and for the nights when quiet is the only sound that flows through our bedroom.


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