3 Times It's OK To Skimp On Sleep

Last Updated May 2, 2011 8:20 AM EDT

While no one ever believes me when I say this, Americans in general sleep more than 8 hours a day. Often when we get less than we need, it's for pretty silly reasons, like staying up late every night to watch Jon Stewart (try Tivo!).
Personally, I'm willing to go to bed quite early to make sure I'm there at least 7-8 hours before I have to get out. But over the past week or two, I've made a conscious decision to sleep less on a few nights for these reasons:

1. To watch history unfolding. Last night's announcement of Osama bin Laden's demise brought back all my memories of watching the Pentagon burn from my department's windows at USA Today on Sept. 11, 2001. Then, we had to wait for letters to the editor to come in (albeit via email) to know what people were saying. Now, I looked at Twitter and got a fire hose of reactions. Sometimes, it's worth staying up late to be part of the conversation.

2. To reconnect. My husband and I have been either traveling, or spending weekend days at conferences, passing off the kids between us. Saturday night, we finally sat down and talked at 11:30PM and kept going to 1:30AM. The next morning was painful. The kids get up early. Nonetheless, sometimes you have to make time for important relationships. Of course, a bigger question is why we only started talking at 11:30PM. It was because I decided to use Saturday night...

3. To conquer a major project. Not everything can be finished between 9AM and 5PM. If you're always working nights that's a problem. But sometimes you care so much about finishing a project (in my case, a book) that you're willing to take a few extra hours, knowing you'll be able to relax once the deadline passes.

When are you willing to skimp on sleep?

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Photo courtesy flickr user, avhell