UNITED STATES—The past two weeks have been one hell of a challenge for me. If there is one thing I value more than family, it is sleep. I’m an early bird; have been since I was a kid, will probably be until the day that I die. However, anyone who knows me is well aware, that I need a certain amount of sleep to be fully recovered. So what would you consider a decent amount of sleep? Six hours, seven hours, eight hours, nine hours? I would be so lucky if I got 6 hours a sleep in a given day, I would love 8 hours, but it rarely happens.

However, if I have anything less than 4 hours watch out. I just cannot function at my absolute best with just 4 hours of sleep. Yes, I know people who can function with that minimal amount of sleep, but not me. On average I would argue I get around 6-7 hours of sleep per night, if I’m lucky. The problem comes when I am overworked or juggling too much. The past 2-3 weeks have been brutal. Particularly, the past week and a half. I honestly think I may have gotten 20-25 hours of sleep during that entire time frame.

There were days where there was just so much to do, that I just kept pushing myself to work to get everything done, negating the fact that it was placing a damper in my sleeping abilities. I think most Americans have an idea regarding their sleep pattern. For starters, I’m NOT a night owl; I don’t really stay up past midnight in most situations. However, if I stay up past 1 a.m., you might as well place a fork in it; because there is absolutely no way I’m going to get any sleep. Why?

My body gets exhausted at that time. It’s like clockwork; I get drowsy, my eyes begin to dose off and if I attempt to fight that sleep instead of going to sleep, it’s a done deal; I will not be going to sleep anytime soon. I think I did that more times than I can count in previous weeks, and I paid for it greatly. I mean last Thursday I was literally up for 30 hours before I finally fell asleep. Did I sleep more than normal? Nope, I got around 8 hours of sleep, but I realize small naps during the day did wonders.

Yes, it sounds crazy, but having the opportunity to gain 30 to 60 minutes of sleep can rejuvenate the body. I know it sounds crazy, it really does, but a 30-minute nap feels like 8 hours sometimes because its quality sleep. There is no good in sleeping if you cannot get quality sleep along the way. If you get in the bed, get rid of the cellphone (I never sleep with one), get rid of the iPad (that’s a problem for me) and don’t allow technology to distract you.

Too many of us are entangled in our technological devices or wanting to be up to date on the latest news trends that it distracts us from focusing on what we need to focus our attention on. Sleep is like a diet, but I would argue sleep is more important. If you don’t allow your body to properly recoup you will crash; you will burn and it will not be a pretty sight to say the least. I mean I recall working 16 hour days for two days a week, and on my day off I would find myself literally sleeping for 12 straight hours. I was in such a deep sleep that you could blow a bullhorn in my ear and I wouldn’t hear it.

Did I need the rest? Yes, but at the same time, 12 hours is a lot of sleep, you’ve virtually slept half of the day. I’m a big proponent of managing one’s time wisely because that is the one thing you can never get back. Once that time dissipates that is it! You don’t get any second chances.