8: A Lifestyle Change

Sometimes we make resolutions and we can’t keep them. 

Sometimes we try new things to see how they work. 

Sometimes they do. 

Sometimes they don’t. 

And, sometimes we read books and they change our lives.   


I read a book that told me that I am literally killing myself. 


I think the author knows what he is talking about. 

If not, his advice is still worth listening to. 

Sometimes good advice is just good advice. 

I think this is good advice. 


I’m going to try to follow the advice knowing that there is a good chance that I won’t succeed in the end. I think what the author is asking us to do is impossible in my life right now.  I am doing too many things, I have too much energy, and there just ain’t enough hours in the day. 

But, I’ll try.   

And, we’ll see. 


The Beatles had a song, Eight Days A Week.   

I might need an eighth day to make this all work. 


From the book: 

Scientists have discovered a revolutionary new treatment that makes you live longer.  
It enhances your memory and makes you more creative.  
It makes you look more attractive.  
It keeps you slim and lowers food cravings.  
It protects you from cancer and dementia.  
It wards off colds and the flu.  
It lowers your risk of heart attacks and stroke, not to mention diabetes.  
You’ll feel happier, less depressed, and less anxious.  
Are you interested? 


A fantastic teacher recently shared a book with me titled Why We Sleep. 

I highly recommend the book to all of you. 

I will have my whole family read it.   

The book outlines some critical facts about sleep – something I have probably not gotten enough of for the last… (oh, I don’t know), twenty-five years.

In short, the book says the following (I am paraphrasing): 

Sleep is one of the most important things we can do.  Sleeping eight hours each night is essential for your health.  It is one of the most important things we can do – that we must do.  Sleep restores us.  It helps us learn.  It is, in some cases how we learn.  We can learn through sleep. 

Society has equated sleep with laziness, but the two are not as related as we might think.  

And, to do without sleep is to put yourself at physical risk – in the short term and in the long term. 

The book says more than that, a whole lot more, but that’s the basic gist.   

We need eight hours of sleep a night, according to the author, Matthew Walker, Ph.D., a sleep scientist.  When we don’t get that much sleep, we are doing ourselves irreparable harm.   


We learn when we sleep and sleeping helps us learn. 

Think about that. 


I have always said in situations when asked (and have written about from time to time) that naps in kindergarten were a good thing. 

I have always been told I am crazy for thinking that.  For years the word RIGOR was constantly thrown out at me, as in “WHERE IS IT?”  

Imagine rigor in the form of sleep… 


Eight hours. 

Do the math. 

Who has eight hours for sleep? 


I have always joked that I don’t sleep.  It turns out that that joke isn’t so funny.  I do sleep, but I keep long hours at certain times.  

I am an elementary school principal. My job is often 24/7.  Sometimes it’s 48/7 (like you better do 48 hours of work a day, every day, or you’ll drown).   

Somehow, I’ve always managed. 

I invented waking up at 4:00 a.m. (what I used to think was an ungodly hour) in order to do my doctoral work.  I didn’t want that work to interfere with being a Dad and all that encompassed.  As such, I decided to do my studies while the rest of my family (and most of the world) was sleeping.  I began that routine in the 1990s.

It became a habit.   

I do get my sleep, but I never get eight hours. 

Eight hours?  Impossible!

You’d need to go to sleep at 9:00 p.m. if you have a 5:00 a.m. wakeup time. 

Want to get up at 4:00 a.m. (who would)?  You’d have to head to sleep at 8:00 p.m.! 

I haven’t gone to bed at 8:00 p.m. since before Happy Days was on the air.   


The book is compelling.  Read the book, see the statistics, reflect on the stories, and you cannot help but think, “If this guy is right, I better sleep more.” 

And I think he’s right. 

So, I’m going to try to sleep more. 

I figured I’d try to do the 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. approach.   

But, 9:00 p.m. is pretty early.  (I usually go to sleep a little later than that.) 

And 5:00 a.m. is very late as a wake-up time for me.  (One can get a lot done in the 4:00 a.m. hour.) 

Still, after reading this book, I’m trying. 


We read and we learn. 

I learned that sleep has a ton, a ton, of important health benefits, job performance benefits, it fosters skills and creativity.  One becomes a better athlete by sleeping.  Sleep provides all this and so much more – in the long term and in the short term. 

Because of all of that I’m going to try my best to get more of it.  I’m going to try to be rigorous in my attempting to sleep.  

I highly recommend this book. It might be the most important book you’ll ever read.

You might find that you’d like to try to sleep a little more.  (Who could argue with that?) 



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