Monday mornings are tough. Some days it takes the strength of Zeus to haul me out of bed. Even though I am at my intellectual and energetic best in the morning, it’s still a drag to leave the warmth of the blankets. Of course dogs, at least my dog, don’t suffer from Monday-itis. No matter how early it is Shiva is bursting to get going every morning. I am convinced I could take her for a walk at three am and she would be just as jubilant as she is at six. I don’t know if that is inspiring or just exhausting.
Which brings me to something else dogs, and cats, do better than humans: sleep. Shiva sleeps with the same drive she has for an agility course. Like everything else, she gives resting her all. After our hour long walk each morning, she passes out beside me on the couch for a nap while I attempt to write something remotely entertaining. This is pretty much what our house looks like at seven am every week day.
Something else I envy – Shiva is such a master at the nap, she can sleep anywhere. On the floor, on the couch, on her dog bed (though only once a decade), in the car, in her crate, on the chair, on the stairs. I bet she could sleep on a train and maybe even on a plane. Her sleeping abilities would fit very well into a Dr. Seuss book.
It’s not even just the fact she takes advantage of every opportunity for a snooze. Shiva also seems to get the full benefit of the rest. We humans have a lot to learn from our pets in this area. I know I only get about six or seven hours every night. That would be fine if I slept straight through those hours. Inevitably I will wake up several times throughout each night and it always takes a bit of time to fall back asleep. I toss and turn and try to get comfortable. Sometimes I wake up more tired than when I fell asleep. That can’t be healthy.
I’ve read all the expert tips and warnings about how important it is to get a full night’s sleep. I know I am supposed to cut caffeine, avoid alcohol, create a pre-sleep ritual, remove distractions from the bedroom, exercise more, and eat better. All of those things are supposed to help. But it’s hard to cut out the coffee when I can barely keep my eyes open by ten o’clock in the morning. I notice the article I linked to also recommends sleeping without pets in the bed. While that may be possible for some, I can only imagine the sounds my cat would make if we closed the door on him.
The key to me seems to be tapping in to whatever it is that helps Shiva get her rest. When it comes to getting the most out of life and out of sleep, dogs do it better than humans every single time. Am I the only one who is more than a little jealous?