'Cheating Ourselves of Sleep'

Jane E. Brody, writing for The New York Times:

Research shows that most people require seven or eight hours of sleep to function optimally. Failing to get enough sleep night after night can compromise your health and may even shorten your life. From infancy to old age, the effects of inadequate sleep can profoundly affect memory, learning, creativity, productivity and emotional stability, as well as your physical health.

According to sleep specialists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, among others, a number of bodily systems are negatively affected by inadequate sleep: the heart, lungs and kidneys; appetite, metabolism and weight control; immune function and disease resistance; sensitivity to pain; reaction time; mood; and brain function.

I’m one of those people who (mistakenly, foolishly) believe that I can function on less than a full night’s sleep. I’ve always been a night owl, staying up far too late watching TV or dicking around online. It was hell to get up in the morning for work, and I know I wasn’t functioning optimally.

Now that I’m effectively working from home, I’m having a lot of trouble establishing a routine. I still stay up way too late, which causes me to sleep in way too late. I really need to force myself to get to bed at a decent hour, so as to wake up at a decent time to begin my day. As it is now, I wake up so late that the morning is pretty much gone, and I feel guilty for wasting it by sleeping.