By Mordechai Schmutter
If you’re like me, you’ve been feeling tired lately, and you don’t know why that is.
Sure, you can guess. You’ve been busy. So much so that if you ever make a mistake, and it’s before noon, you can just tell the other person, “I haven’t woken up yet.”
“You haven’t? Didn’t you drive here?”
“I don’t remember.”
This is why I work at home. When I woke up this morning, I was so tired that I filled the kettle with water and put it in the fridge. I didn’t even notice what I was doing. I was trying to rearrange things in the fridge to fit the kettle in, and the main thought occupying my mind was, “What is going on here? There’s never room in the fridge for anything!”
(In case you’re wondering how someone came up with iced coffee.)
So it would definitely help to find some way to feel less tired. But how? We’re too tired to even think.
Of course, the answer everyone gives is “Get more sleep.” But then when you do get more sleep, everyone’s all over you for being late to things. I learned that in yeshiva. (I learned a lot of things in yeshiva.) Even now that I’m out of yeshiva, my kids’ yeshiva keeps asking, “Why are you bringing your kids late?” I had a total of five minutes of my life when I wasn’t answering to a menahel.
It’s easy for people to say, “Get more sleep,” but you obviously have a lot to do. That’s why you’re tired in the first place. When do these people expect you to do all these things? You can’t do them when you’re asleep.
We know that your mother told you to get more sleep whenever you were tired because she wanted you to go to sleep so she could get her stuff done and be less tired. And then we pass that info out to our friends when they complain that they’re tired. But your friend going to sleep earlier isn’t going to help you get things done. Unless it’s the kind of friend who doesn’t know how to get off the phone.
So I looked around for some articles featuring new tips that people didn’t hear from their mothers. But most of the tips I found involve eating. So no such luck, then.
The first tip I found, which is also one I’ve heard from other people, is:
Eat breakfast. I don’t have time to eat breakfast. I’m busy getting more sleep. Supposedly, though, if you eat something in the morning, your body will suddenly realize it’s morning.
“Oh! Milk with things in it! It must be morning.”
According to articles, studies show that people who eat breakfast are perkier in the mornings!
No, studies show that people who eat breakfast are morning people who are perkier anyway.
After all, how does your body know it’s breakfast? If I skip breakfast and eat lunch, why doesn’t my body say, “Oh, he finally ate breakfast.” Does my body know it’s not milk with things in it?
But I found some other tips as well, before my head hit the keyboard:
Eat small meals throughout the day. According to an article, “Instead of three large meals with many hours in between, try eating more, smaller meals throughout the day.” I already spend half the day trying to figure out what we’re going to have for supper. It can only get worse with six meals.
Supposedly, though, eating six times a day stimulates your metabolism—breakfast, brunch, lunch, linner, dinner, and dreakfast. Six meals. You can either lose weight or be less tired, but not both.
But squeezing in more meals might be an issue, because you may have heard certain health-conscious people say that you shouldn’t eat after 8 o’clock at night. Because 8 isn’t just an arbitrary number that doesn’t take into account daylight-saving time, and when each individual person goes to sleep, and whether or not they had supper yet. But with six meals, your evenings are going to be crazy. (“We have to finish this meal so we can start the next one! It’s almost 8!”)
Apparently, eating numerous small meals a day helps you avoid being too full or too hungry, because both of those things make you tired. Because if you’re hungry, you’re tired. That’s why people lie down on fasts. Also, if you’re full, you’re tired. That’s why people lie down on Shabbos.
But this doesn’t make sense. If six short meals a day is supposed to help you feel awake, then how come in the old days, they used to eat two squares, tops, and they were still able to get up at the crack of dawn to milk the chickens?
Also, if you eat six meals a day, no one will want to come to you for yom tov:
“Oh my goodness, he fed us 18 meals in three days. I was like, ‘We want to sleep!’ But he was banging on the door during naps: ‘Get up! You need another meal, or you’ll be tired!’”
I don’t have enough room in the fridge for that amount of food. I have a kettle in there.
Drink more water. It turns out that dehydration makes you tired. Or dead. So drink 6–8 glasses of water a day.
I don’t usually count how many times I take a drink. I guess if I drink one glass of water with each meal, that’s already six. But there’s that random number again. Eight cups of water? So it doesn’t matter how big you are?
Get more exercise. It turns out a lack of exercise makes you tired. But don’t exercise too much, because dehydration makes you tired. Also, you have to keep stopping the exercise to eat six meals a day. Maybe strap on a feedbag, so you can eat while running, without even using your hands. Just Cheerios or something, bouncing around in a bowl strapped to your face while you run. Maybe with milk, if it’s breakfast.
But we should definitely get more exercise. Every day, I put “exercise” on my to-do list, and it’s still there when I go to bed. If I don’t have time to sleep, what makes you think I have time to exercise? Should I go to sleep even later, so I can run around the block in the dark? No, because it’s too late to be awake now. It’s time to go to sleep.
Another idea that all the lists start with is:
Don’t drink caffeine. Sure, caffeine will keep you awake, but the downside, experts say, is that you’ll have to drink more caffeine.
So what? Then I’ll be more awake! How is this a downside?
“No,” they say. “Caffeine dehydrates you.”
So does exercise! And I’m already drinking eight cups of water. One of which is in the coffee. I’m not just eating a spoon of crystals.
Keep down your stress levels. How am I supposed to do that? All these tips contradict each other. I don’t have time to do the things I need to do because I’m spending all day trying not to feel tired so I can do them.
“If you find yourself staring at the computer screen for much of the day,” one article says, “make sure you set some time to be outside, even if it’s just a few short walks.”
I don’t have time for this. I have to spend time thinking about what I should make for blupper.
Yeah, don’t stress; work more things into your day.
Stop giving me more things to do! To be honest, I thought this list would say things like, “If you lie like this when you sleep, you’ll feel like you slept twice as long.”
But here’s my idea:
Kids have a lot of energy. How do we tap into that? Can we live like they do?
It’s a great idea! We can eat lots of candy, never clean our rooms, spend two hours in the bathtub, have people drag us through stores when we don’t want to go, announce that we don’t like a food before we try it, drink more bathwater, take 20 minutes to eat a chicken cutlet, come over to our parents on afternoons when there’s no school and ask for something called “English snack,” never stop making noise from sunup to sundown, not put any effort into finding anything, have a set bedtime but don’t go to sleep at that bedtime, jump on our beds for two hours, and fall asleep on the floor!
If we live like kids, we won’t get tired; we’ll just get cranky. In case you couldn’t tell from this article.
Mordechai Schmutter is a weekly humor columnist for Hamodia and is the author of four books, published by Israel Book Shop. He also does freelance writing for hire. You can send any questions, comments, or ideas to MSchmutter@gmail.com.