When a toddler slips, life goes on as if nothing happened, and certainly the little one is not keeping track. When a child forgets their home phone number, a teenager where they left a new cellphone, or if a college student is sleepless about an upcoming exam, life goes on as if nothing happened.
Keeping track of ourselves is an adult activity that seems to become more important with age. And with age, we become more able to keep track too.
A study years ago noticed that the memory of a college student and an older adult were similar, but older people didn’t agree. It’s an old saw that memory fails, but it’s more likely, said this study of 1,000s, that older adults merely “notice” when they forget. After all, they’ve inhabited their body and brain for awhile and have become familiar with its errors and omissions.
A new study noticed that insomniacs and normal sleepers use similar criteria to discuss the quality of their sleep, but that insomniacs use extra criteria. Insomniacs evaluate their sleep under a more exacting lens where a longer list must be satisfied before they say they’ve enjoyed quality sleep [story].
Perhaps a poor sleep isn’t, or perhaps a poor sleep is generally normal.
It might be important to wonder if memory or sleep is failing or if we’re merely more adept at ‘noticing’ and more impatient with our performance.
It might be important to reflect on youth and remember how many times we fell on our butt or woke during the night. If we forget where we put our keys and say to ourselves it’s because we’re getting old, we might only be forgetting that we’ve lost our keys before.