Happiness, says a book I read and enjoyed, but can not now recall, consist in getting enough sleep. (You're asking, How do you know you enjoyed the book if you can't remember anything about it except this one line? Don't have a real answer, except that in recalling this line I am aware of a feeling of pleasure. Good things are associated with this line. It's like the song intro you don't recognize, but somehow you know belongs to a good song. That happens to me all the time. Oh, yeah, I'll say, nodding my head to the beat, turning up the radio. What song is this? my kids will ask. Don't know, I'll say, but I like it. And they exchange that crazy old man look.)
So this book, which I enjoyed, defines happiness in terms of sleep. Now, I've thought a lot about sleep the last few days, since I haven't been getting much. (The more you have, the less you worry: money, sleep, sex, health. The more you have, the more you worry: speeding tickets, employees, balls in the air, letters from the government -- especially the ones that begin, It has come to our attention that .... They say money can be a worry, but I don't believe them. And kids are a worry whether you have one or ten.) Is there a better feeling than getting up slowly, stretching, and then settling back against the pillow? Luxury, peace, bodily contentment --it's all there, much more so than, say, pushing back your chair after a big dinner. Waking after a good sleep is like getting a huge hug from someone you love, only you're all by yourself.
I can go a long time on little sleep. In fact that's my default template. But there's a limit to wakefulness. Sleep is serious. Sleep is important. Mess with it all you like, with your caffeine and fear-induced deadlines. But know that it will find you. Sleep is like water -- it finds its own level. Sleep is a force, a sacrament, an absolute. I've been short this last week, and not even coffee, not even fear, is doing much of a job keeping me awake. I am yawning as I write this.
Maybe I'll grab an afternoon nap today -- the joy of sleep when others are working. (Like a midweek movie matinee in a quiet theater. Why are so many morally ambiguous activities associated with the afternoon? Topic for another day.) And ... ooh, another yawn ... maybe I won't last until afternoon.