As a writer, you are taught early on to avoid clichés – phrases that are overused, unoriginal, and lacking in real expression; phrases that will see your audience’s eyes glazing over at first read. But, when it comes to sleep, there are even better reasons to steer clear of clichés. Generic or overused statements about sleep can be dangerous, promoting improper sleep habits; and can also be exasperating for those on the receiving end.
Here are 4 sleep clichés to avoid, if you know what’s good for you!
- I’ll sleep when I’m dead: Nope. You’ll be dead when you’re dead. And, statistically speaking, you are likely to LIVE LONGER if you get more sleep! In her book, The Sleep Revolution, Arianna Huffington talks at length about “our cultural dismissal of sleep as time wasted.” Bam! The notion that we cannot (and should not) waste time on sleep (i.e. “I’ll just wait and do that when I’m dead), is compromising our generation’s health and happiness. Sleep is an essential component to a healthy, happy life. Life cannot happen without sleep.
- Sleeping like a baby: Ha! Want to make a new mom fume? Throw this cliché at her! Of course, many newborn babies will sleep anywhere and everywhere, which is likely where this cliché gets is origins. However, most infants beyond the three-month mark will no longer “sleep like babies” and will, instead, be more alert, more aware of their surroundings, and require a lot more attention when it comes to naptimes and bedtimes. That’s why this cliché is a bit of a joke to parents who are dealing with multiple night wakes, short naps, and overtired babies!
- Slept like a log: Most people using this expression are suggesting that they had an excellent night’s sleep. But, remember: if you sleep SO soundly that you need an alarm clock to blast you out of bed in the morning, chances are you are overtired and carrying around a sleep debt. Most people who are truly well-rested and getting proper sleep each night won’t even need an alarm clock to wake them each day. If you have found (and if you respect!) your body’s natural sleep pattern (i.e. you go to bed when your body is tired and you naturally wake once you’ve had enough sleep) you should notice that you feel rested, refreshed and energized each morning.
- Sleep on it: Can’t decide whether to take that new job? Wondering if you should put an offer on that property? Often, we are advised to “sleep on it” – i.e. to put the decision off until the next day and think about it further. While it’s often a good idea to take a step back and look at the bigger picture when making an important decision, remember that going to bed with loads of baggage on your mind is likely to impede your sleep and actually make it more difficult to concentrate the next day. Turning off your phone and your tablet well before bedtime each night will help you to wind down and clear your mind of the day’s stresses. Getting big decisions or weighty issues off your mind before going to bed is likely to help you get a more restful, healthy night’s sleep.