My Zero-Sum Life

Eating properly takes a huge amount of time. I reluctantly but resignedly spend at least two hours a day shopping for fresh vegetables, washing them, steaming them, consuming (chewing) them, and cleaning up. All with the goal to reduce the progression of heart disease and to stay as far away from the SAD (“Standard American Diet”) habits of the past as I can.

Now, along comes an article in the New York Times called “Cheating Ourselves of Sleep” which lists the serious health consequences of not getting 7-8 hours of good sleep each night. I’ve always known this, but the article packs a lot in one place, and it sounds exactly like the consequences of a bad diet. If I were to take the list of health problems resulting from sleep deficits and put them side-by-side with the list of health problems resulting from following a SAD diet, there would be numerous and dramatic overlaps. (Only some of the consequences of sleep deprivation show in the wikipedia chart below.)


So, I have a daily sleep deficit of two hours, and I spend two hours a day “eating right”. I’ve essentially taken two hours from my sleep and added it to food prep time. This is an existential dilemma for me. I’m hoping to stave off health trouble by eating properly but I’m inviting the same health trouble by not sleeping enough.

It seems that this is a zero-sum game.