A Shorter Longer Life

This week I’m writing to you at 4:30am from Atlanta’s giant airport.  I just flew in from Las Vegas (and, as the joke goes, boy are my arms tired) after a long day of meetings.  I slept a little bit on the flight that left at 11pm Pacific time last night.

I mention this odd hour (I normally sleep until 7am, but listen to the radio until 8am or later), because by violently violating my routine, I’ve probably cost myself some alive-time.

That’s right: in addition to everything else that’s bad for us, it turns out that not having a consistent schedule is rough on our bodies, including all those important slimy organs that do so much work to keep us going.

The article I read, which I’m probably reporting on poorly (lack of sleep) said that our bodies really like consistency, and not getting it makes our body parts age prematurely.  Oh, that’s just great!  Especially for people who work in rotating shifts, like to drive to Florida in one shot, or, basically, do anything interesting and exciting.

Scientists have gotten more and more preachy about getting enough sleep over the past few years.  Not only does too little sleep age our bodies, it can contribute to Alzheimer’s onset as our brains can’t clear out the debris that collects there.  And by debris I don’t mean memories of having watched Jerry Springer and his ilk, but rather actual chemicals that build up during the day.

In a positive development, some scientists are saying that gluten isn’t as evil as they had thought unless you have Celiac disease, which is an allergy to gluten.  Since I’m a glutton for gluten, that’s good to know.

More good news: salt isn’t evil unless you have high blood pressure.  But, wait until next month.

Sugar, on the other hand, is very bad.  Here’s the reason it is very bad: It is very good.  I’m just waiting for the day science tells us that Brussels sprouts are a carcinogen.  It will probably be a very cold day in a four-lettered town in Michigan.

And, while we’ve been gooping sunscreen onto our Scandinavian epidermises, we’ve been depriving our bodies of vitamin D, the absence of which isn’t a good thing.

My dad was a creature of habit, and most weeks his getting up and going to bedtimes didn’t vary by more than 20 minutes.  He ate at consistent times in the day, including his “second breakfast” of toast and jelly around 10am.  His habituations bothered me, and I swore I didn’t want to be like that, but as age creeps along, I realize that consistency does make me feel better.

By now it’s 5am, and before long I’ll be on my way back home, trying to be at least somewhat productive despite having had little sleep.  And, despite the joke above, my arms really are tired.  I must have not slept on them funny.


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