Because sleeplessness is the cousin of grouchiness…
If you encounter an “Oscar” during your day’s tasks today, consider how they might not be sleeping. Maybe they aren’t sleeping for a really good reason. Good reasons for sleeping poorly:
- Just lost a child, a job, or a marriage
- Headaches, body aches, heartache
- Stress about politics
- Crime or accident victim
- An undiagnosed health problem (even if it’s not a sleep disorder)
How would you feel if you were them in that moment?
Solutions: Oscar is a stranger
If your “Oscar” is a perfect stranger, show them a kindness.
Buy their coffee for them, or let them cut in line, or tell them a funny joke to distract them.
Grouchy isn’t the same thing as being rude; grouchy means they’ve reached a point of emotional intolerance for all the discrepancies and imbalances they’ve encountered over the course of that day (or longer).
Who hasn’t had a bad day or a rough patch?
Cutting them a little slack by helping in some small way will make a bigger positive impact than you might think.
Solutions: Oscar is a casual acquaintance
If your “Oscar” is someone you know casually, offer them a smile and a show of support in some way.
Also, you might suggest, as you part, that they “try to get some sleep.”
Say it in the kindest way; you never know, they might not have even realized that their sleep is out of synch, and that could be the reason they are grouchy in the first place!
Solutions: Oscar is a loved one
Finally, if your “Oscar” is a loved one, be direct: ask them how they are sleeping. And if they are struggling, find a way to help them out.
Even if you can’t arrive at a plan of action, or they resist your efforts to help them, your suggestion will help them to view their state of mind from a different vantage point. It might be the thing that prompts them to go to bed early, even.
The fact that you asked shows you care, and that might be all they needed in the first place: an acknowledgment that they are not alone, or that people care about them.
Takeway: Sleep heals
Remember your “Oscar” the next time you are feeling grouchy, and think about your sleeping habits over recent nights.
Nobody wants to be grouchy, nor does it feel good to be grouchy.
Sleep can help prevent these negative jags, or if they come anyway (who can predict what disasters lay in wait for them?), sleep can help fortify you to withstand them.