Your heart doesn’t break less with dating experience and age. It actually breaks more, or at least mine does. Instead of an impenetrable thick tar that I thought would surround my heart to protect it from breaking by now, my heart seems to be covered with a thin layer of delicate frost that melts completely with a warm word, a stirring look, or a loving embrace.
I enter into new romances with the same enthusiasm I had when I was 12. Full throttle and a bit unhinged in the head.
I no longer want to date men I shouldn’t date. Men who I end up sending text messages like, “All you do is drive me crazy and then call me crazy.” Crazy is a powerful and dangerous thing to call a woman. Men who can’t or don’t want to talk about anything real use it.
You know what’s better than dating a guy who calls you crazy? Sleeping.
I love sleeping. Sleeping’s my favorite, and I’m making it my mission this year to sleep well and often.
Countless studies have proven that we should all be getting around eight hours a night, but most of us are sleep deprived. One reason I’ve been sleep deprived in the past is because of the nagging worry that comes with dating dumb dudes.
Here are 6 reasons why sleeping means more to me than dating does:
1) The Well Rested Face
Vanity for the win! Getting a good, peaceful sleep means you’ll awake with a more rested face, a glowing complexion and brighter eyes. All of these things trump the beauty enhancements the last guy I dated gave me, which consisted of frown lines and tears.
Last year, researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden found that sleep deprivation affects the eyes, mouth, and skin. A different study, commissioned by Estée Lauder and conducted by scientists at University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center, found that poor sleepers showed increased signs of skin aging. They had more fine lines, uneven pigmentation, and reduced skin elasticity than the good sleepers did, and those who got good sleeps regularly were quicker to recover from skin stressors like the sun and environmental toxins.
There’s a reason it’s called beauty sleep, I guess.
My optimum amount of sleep is around nine hours a night, so I’m basically like a small child. When I don’t get enough sleep, I’m prone to dozing off on the subway and acting like a lethargic grumpy Gus.
I’m as quick as any exhausted person to rely on caffeine to get me through those tired days that come from sleepless nights, however, I’ve noticed that consistent good sleep equates to a lot more energy, from the time I wake up until it’s time to hit the sheets. Getting regular exercise and eating less sugar helps with this, too.
Ain’t nothing like the real thing, my ass. Dreams can be fun, freeing, lovely reminders that our unconscious minds are awesome and strange. I keep a dream journal for the dreams I remember when I wake up so I can decode the mysteries of my sleeping mind. It’s a pretty stellar hobby, and totally beats dating the guy who said to me on a first date: “You’re 30? You must want to have kids pronto!”
Not really, man. I have a son in my dreams sometimes, he’s fun, and when I wake up I don’t have to deal with crying or diaper poop.
If you’re into dream decoding, the app iDream has a really good dream dictionary.
You can’t just sleep all day every day and expect to be a beam of sunshine when you’re awake. In fact, if you’re sleeping that much you might have mono or a serious case of depression. Getting a healthy eight hours of sleep per night, consistently, combined with an active lifestyle (not sexually active, for me, because no dating = no sex, whatever) is a recipe for a good mood.
I’m lighter, happier, make more fun small talk with strangers, and am more likely to choose the sunny side of life when I’m well rested.
Naps help with this, too.
Growing up, my entire family would nap after our massive Sunday lunch: grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and kids. The women would pile onto the bed together. I remember snuggling in between them, all of us laughing before we drifted off. It’s definitely a custom I wish I kept up. I also wish it was a normal thing to do in North America.
Naps aren’t just for kids. I don’t see anything wrong with taking one after a large meal, or a long walk, or for any other time, if that’s what you want to do.
You can be sure that if you ever come to my house for lunch, we will be napping afterward.
Sleeping poorly can lead to bad things like heart disease, diabetes, obesity and more, while sleeping well can lower the risk of all those things. Restful sleep regenerates cells and helps reset and regulate the body.
I consulted my life guru Oprah over on Oprah.com to find out what we can do to sleep better. Dr. Oz recommends:
Smell lavender oil before bed time (I also put on lavender scented body lotion, and spray lavender mist on my pillows).
Eat a Mediterranean diet (lots of fruits, veggies, fish, and whole grains). Avoid caffeine before bed and check your meds because some painkillers and other drugs contain stimulants.
Eat rice and potatoes with your dinner. Both have a high glycemic index and increase your body’s levels of tryptophan, which helps you fall asleep faster.
I’d like to add yoga to this list because if I’m really wound up or stressed, an evening restorative yoga class is pretty much a natural tranquilizer.
Dr. Oz recommends sleeping on your side to get the most restful sleep. Also, this is unrelated but I thought it was great that Dr. Oz once called the vagina “a self-cleaning oven” when talking about douches (actual douches, not the guys I frequently date).
Since I’m taking a much-needed break from dating, I have a lot more time for the glorious act of sleeping. If I’m reading at home on a Friday night and I pass out by 8pm, I’m happy because going to get so much splendid sleep! It’s not depressing because it’s my choice, mmmk?
Also: tell me why you love sleeping, please.