Maybe you disagree with me on this, but my theory is: In the absence of mental illness, at least 90% of behavioral problems can be solved when we have the right amounts of well-timed good food and good sleep. I’ve been lucky in my life to be naturally drawn to both. As a baby, I regularly slept 16 hours at a stretch—before, during, and after the darkness of night—and my mother would check that I was still breathing, while also having enough time to, you know, have a life, even with an infant. (I was the first of my parents’ children, and I’m sorry again, younger siblings, for setting unrealistic expectations on the sleep score.) Although 16 hours is a bit much now—and I’ve widely expanded my diet beyond sweet milk—sleeping and eating are still deeply pleasurable experiences for me, and I try to share my love for them with everyone I live with.
This can be a challenge.
In our household, we have different genders, body types, activity levels, and stages of life; we have larks and owls among us, sometimes flitting within the same person over years. We’ve experienced various medical challenges, as well as financial and time constraints on our options for nourishing ourselves. Some of us are super tasters and smellers with an appetite for exploration; some of us have narrower perceptions and tolerances. We’ve experimented with hundreds of plans to address and support these dynamic and systemic issues, with goals to optimize our health, energy levels, and productivity, as well as to offer us multi-sensory satisfaction and delight. From paleo to keto, from near-carnivore to vegan, from rice bowl breakfast to sheet pan dinner, from whole wheat to gluten-free, from milkshakes to green smoothies, we’ve prepared it, served it, and (sometimes) consumed it. Where we’re living right now is as idiosyncratic omnivores, who seek out organic and local when we can. One of our superpowers is repurposing leftovers and avoiding waste. Another one is chocolate.
And at the end of the day—before most people are thinking about it—I’m making the strong suggestion for sleep. Maybe nine hours, and still up with the sun? Wouldn’t that be delicious?!