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I Can Negotiate with My Brain
When it comes to sleep, I get eight hours a night. My insomniac friend Julie follows a more complex system, swearing that if she gets four hours per night over the course of the week, she can make up for the shortage by sleeping 12 hours on Saturday. I maintain that this does not count as adequate sleep. It turns out that science backs up my years of anecdotal research: A recent study suggests that "catching up" on sleep on the weekends doesn't actually work to reverse all the effects of mild sleep deprivation throughout the week. The real lie, however, is the bargaining process. We make so many of these bogus contracts with ourselves: "If I work really hard on this project, then I can drink the whole bottle of wine tonight." "If I run 3 miles, I can eat 3 pieces of salted-caramel apple pie.” (Well, I'm pretty sure that last one is true.) I know these back-and-forths feel like you're rewarding yourself, but remember what you already know: Your body is not your brain. It gets confused when you keep changing the rules.